From the Four Winds

Haim Saba­to; Yaa­cob Dweck, trans.
  • Review
By – September 13, 2011

Eng­lish-speak­ing audi­ences can now enjoy this work of auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal fic­tion from award-win­ning Israeli author Haim Saba­to. The story’s main char­ac­ter shares his name with the author and, like Saba­to, he comes to Jerusalem from Egypt as a child in the 1950’s. 

From the time he is a boy, Haim is tak­en with Moshe Farkash, a learned Hun­gar­i­an immi­grant who seems both mys­te­ri­ous and larg­er-than-life. The book chron­i­cles their rela­tion­ship, fol­low­ing Haim from youth through father­hood. Farkash’s sto­ry cen­ters around war and the Holo­caust, and his char­ac­ter allows Saba­to to explore themes of loss, sur­vival, for­give­ness, and rebuild­ing.

Beau­ti­ful­ly writ­ten, and accent­ed with poet­ry, the book paints a true pic­ture of the immi­grant expe­ri­ence and the Jew­ish State com­ing into its own. Sabato’s descrip­tion of the sirens wail­ing dur­ing syn­a­gogue ser­vices on that fat­ed Yom Kip­pur in 1973 and the ensu­ing activ­i­ty is espe­cial­ly strik­ing and will res­onate with read­ers who lived through this era.

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