City of a Thousand Gates

Rebecca Sacks. Harper, $27.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-301147-2
Sacks’s ambitious and panoramic debut gives a glimpse into the everyday experiences of 28 residents of the West Bank whose extraordinary, tension-filled lives embody the region’s challenges and contradictions. The characters (don’t worry, there’s an index) include a professor at Bethlehem University who idly dreams of escaping to America, an American expat and new mother having doubts about her young family, a German reporter eager to make a name for herself, and a Jewish American teenager about to get married. Their individual crises intersect in various ways—generally involving the university, the military, and the ubiquitous checkpoints—and play out against the backdrop of ongoing sectarian drama. After a 14-year-old Israeli girl is stabbed to death in her West Bank settlement home, a mob of young Israeli men retaliate by beating a Palestinian teenager (with no connection to the stabbing) nearly to death. Sacks demonstrates a deep knowledge of the place and its people, and does an excellent job of inhabiting the many points of view through strong voices and rich emotion, making palpable the hate and love at odds not only across cultures but within individual hearts. Fans of Nathan Englander will find much to love. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 10/26/2020
Release date: 02/02/2021
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-4434-6219-8
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-06-301149-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-7999-4824-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-7999-4825-4
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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