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A Novel By Jonathan Wilson (257 Pages)Publisher: Pantheon Books, 2003
This swift and sensual novel of passion and politics transports us to British Palestine, where the Arabs, the British, and the Jews mingle in a scene of colonial excess and unease. It is 1924, and Mark Bloomberg, a disillusioned London painter, arrives in Jerusalem to take up a propaganda commission. When he and his American wife, Joyce, accidentally witness the murder of a prominent Orthodox Jew near their cottage, they become embroiled in an investigation that will test their marriage and their characters. Joyce, an ardent Zionist, is pulled into an affair with Robert Kirsch, the British policeman investigating the case, while Bloomberg, transfixed by the desert light, attempts to capture on canvas the complex, shifting truths of the region.
Like Kirsch, whose brother was killed in France in 1918, all of the characters here have come to Palestine to escape the grief of the First World War, and are forced to confront their principles and their hearts in the midst of a culture in the throes of painful emergence.
Lushly detailed and compellingly cinematic, A Palestine Affair illuminates a lesser-known aspect of the history of the Middle East as it tells a powerful story in which love proves to be, ultimately, a force as strong as politics.
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