The only way to survive a Ryan Air flight is to hide in a book and turn up the sound on your iPod, and that is exactly what I did last week going over to London. It has to be a pretty interesting book so you keep reading and turn out everything around you. Linda Grant’s book When I lived in Modern Times, which she won the Orange Prize for, definitely sounded like the perfect book for the flight, and it was.
In April 1946 Everlyn Sert sets off to Palestine to start a new life in a brand new country. A country filled with Jewish refugees and idealists, but at least on the paper everything seems possible. After spending the first couple of months at a Kibbutz she realises that this wasn’t what she had expected. Instead she moves to the Bauhouse city of Tel Aviv, where she quickly becomes a new woman, a new Jew and totally reinvents herself. Then she meets Johnny, an idealist who is part of the movement wanting the Brits to leave and suddenly she right in the middle of historical and life threatening events – the birth of the Israeli state.
I really liked the story. It’s a historical book, but at the same time a story about wanting to be part of something bigger, being young and falling in love. It’s a story about culture clashes and following a dream. But most of all it’s a story about becoming of age and realizing what it is to be a Jew in a non-Jewish world.