Non­fic­tion

The Art of Leav­ing: A Memoir

  • From the Publisher
February 19, 2019

This search­ing col­lec­tion opens with the death of Ayelet Tsabari’s father when she was just nine years old. His pass­ing left her feel­ing root­less, dev­as­tat­ed, and dri­ven to ques­tion her com­plex iden­ti­ty as an Israeli of Yemeni descent in a coun­try that sup­pressed and deval­ued her ances­tors’ traditions.

In The Art of Leav­ing, Tsabari tells her sto­ry, from her ear­ly love of writ­ing and words, to her rebel­lion dur­ing her manda­to­ry ser­vice in the Israeli army. She trav­els from Israel to New York, Cana­da, Thai­land, and India, falling in and out of love with coun­tries, men and women, drugs and alco­hol, run­ning away from respon­si­bil­i­ties and refus­ing to set­tle in one place. She recounts her first mar­riage, her strug­gle to define her­self as a writer in a new lan­guage, her deci­sion to become a moth­er, and final­ly her redis­cov­ery and embrace of her fam­i­ly his­to­ry — a his­to­ry marked by gen­er­a­tions of head­strong women who strug­gled to choose between their hearts and their homes. Even­tu­al­ly, she real­izes that she must rec­on­cile the mem­o­ries of her father and the sad­ness of her past if she is ever going to come to terms with herself.

With fierce, emo­tion­al prose, Ayelet Tsabari crafts a beau­ti­ful med­i­ta­tion about the lengths we will trav­el to try to escape our grief, the uni­ver­sal search to find a place where we belong, and the sense of home we even­tu­al­ly find with­in ourselves.

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