My Father’s Paradise: A Son’s Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq

Ariel Sabar, Author
Ariel Sabar, Author . Algonquin $25.95 (332p) ISBN 978-1-56512-490-5
Open Ebook - 345 pages - 978-1-56512-996-2
Ebook - 325 pages - 978-1-56512-668-8
Paperback - 344 pages - 978-1-56512-933-7
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For his first 31 years Sabar considered his father, Yona, an embarrassing anachronism. “Ours was a clash of civilizations, writ small. He was ancient Kurdistan. I was 1980s L.A.” Yona was a UCLA professor whose passion was his native language, Aramaic. Ariel was an aspiring rock-and-roll drummer. The birth of Sabar’s own son in 2002 was a turning point, prompting Sabar to try to understand his father on his own terms. Readers can only be grateful to him for unearthing the history of a family, a people and a very different image of Iraq. Sabar vividly depicts daily life in the remote village of Zahko, where Muslims, Jews and Christians banded together to ensure prosperity and survival, and in Israel (after the Jews’ 1951 expulsion from Iraq), where Kurdish Jews were stereotyped as backward and simple. Sabar’s career as an investigative reporter at the Baltimore Sun and elsewhere serves him well, particularly in his attempt to track down his father’s oldest sister, who was kidnapped as an infant. Sabar offers something rare and precious—a tale of hope and continuity that can be passed on for generations. Photos. (Sept. 16)

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