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The People of Forever are Not Afraid Book Discussion

Hosted By: Temple Ner Tamid

This novel has frequently been publicized as a coming of age story that documents the journey of three adolescent friends from childhood through their service in the IDF. But the novel is much more than that. As the review in the Los Angeles Times stated, “We tend to associate world-weariness with age and experience, but as Shani Boianjiu’s stunning debut demonstrates, some experiences age us independent of the actual passage of time … At times, the novel’s reflections on love and loss, desire and despair, read like poetry.” The reader gets three different perspectives as the author changes the narrator point-of-view. The three young women all relate their own experiences and opinions throughout the story. It is really too simple to say that this tale is about three girls conscripted into the IDF. We get to know them intimately and the three different first-person narrations all feel so personal and believable. The review from The Jewish Book Council said it this way: “Like the author, the three girls hail from a remote Israel-Lebanon border town. They struggle through the boredom and limitations of small-town life. The novel’s core is an exploration of modern military life in the IDF. Boianjiu dissects the layered military bureaucracy and examines the complicated gender issues that emerge when young men and women serve in close quarters. It is a revealing look inside a traditionally opaque institution.”

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