My Review for Victoria Avilan’s ‘A Small Country About to Vanish.’

Hello friends and welcome. Thank you for stopping by last week to meet author Pascal Scott. Today I’m presenting my review for Victoria Avilan‘s ‘A Small Country About to Vanish.’

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This story is about the lives of two women, Shelli Kahana and Rona Lubliner, childhood friends, who grew up in Israel. It covers a long span of time and will sometimes go back and forth. It is told from one point of view in the first person for one of the protagonists and in the third for the other. An incident happens that affects both women deeply. It takes place in Israel and California.

Shelli is independent and does her own thing, not caring what others think. She has a love/hate relationship with her best friend, Rona, and often envies her. Shelli also has an attraction to Rona’s mother, Eva. Eva represented a facet of motherhood that her own mother didn’t have. Shelli spends her time reading books on the holocaust, searching for answers as to why people didn’t escape when the first signs were released. However, I feel the story lacks a bit of Shelli’s development. I would have liked to know more about her.

Rona loves to argue Israeli politics with her friends. She married young to her high school sweetheart and now lives a lavish life. At the same time, she is frugal when buying certain things. She often thinks of Shelli, sometimes with regret. She uses food as a comfort. In her youth, she studied piano and still plays to this day. Her social network consists of a group of her childhood friends.

There are several other pov’s which I found to be a distraction in the story. These are supporting characters.

There are graphic scenes in the book because there is a war going on in Israel. This is a bit frightening. The reader is informed about the reality of what is going on over in the middle east, the fear the people hold on a daily basis, not knowing whether they or a loved one will get killed in a bombing. I found myself shivering in one scene.

There is plenty of sex in the book. Beware, there is a reference to straight sex in the book and a few choice words are used.

This book is moderately paced with good descriptions. The story is medium length and will take you a few hours to read. Enjoy.

Book Photo

Here is an excerpt:

*

“Why would you care if I live or die?” Gila’s voice carries a magnitude of venom Rona hasn’t heard before. “You only care about that stupid piano.”

Gila’s accusation resonates, striking an old chord, one of Rona’s repressed memories she’s never dealt with. Many years ago she’d opened the door to her own childhood room, her little sanctuary with the posters of the Beatles, the macramé and the colorful cushions on which she and her friends sat and straightened their hair in a long process called abuageila. They had celebrated their own mini Woodstock festival only the day before. But on that day she caught Eva sitting on her bed, something resting in her lap. Wagner. She’s found my Wagner, Rona cried out inside.

But it had been worse than Wagner.

Rona’s diary was open in Eva’s lap, and Eva was rocking back and forth, silently crying. Eva never cried, or, for that matter, did anything silently.

“What did you read?” Rona had asked, more angry than concerned.

“I could take the Nazis,” Eva said, pushing herself up with some difficulty into a standing position. “But this, from you?”

Rona still has that diary. Moisture had glued those two pages together and she can’t, won’t, pry them open. Some memories are better left unremembered. What she does recall is the cruelty of her spoken words, as if the written ones hadn’t caused enough pain.

“I see,” Rona had said, “that your Hebrew is good enough to read what you shouldn’t.”

Why had her mother gone there in the first place? And why had she, Rona, invaded Gila’s territory? She wasn’t looking for drugs, but rather for secrets Gila was keeping from her. And she’d found both drugs and secrets.

“Sliha,” Rona says, the ambiguous Hebrew word that could mean get out of my way but in this particular context means forgive me.

As she had never apologized to her mother, Rona now apologizes to her daughter for her own intrusion. She leaves Gila’s room––ten times larger than her own childhood sanctuary, and decorated lavishly in lavender and blues, not a macramé shade in sight––knowing this will be forever Gila’s private moment of maternal betrayal, a landmark in her young life. A touchstone for the future.

*

Book Photo

Four stars.

Thank you for stopping by today. Be sure to visit next time when I’ll be presenting something new.

Until Next Time,

Namaste,

Lynn

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Copyright 2019

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