Losing Israel by Jasmine Donahaye
Review Date: 15 August 2015
Author: Jasmine Donahaye
Release Date: 18 June 2015
Publishers: Seren Books
ISBN –10: 1781722528
ISBN – 13: 1781722527
Available in Hardback
The Last Word Review
A moving memoir of a past a search for the truth and an enduring love for Ornithology that is beautifully written
I am grateful to both Seren Books and to Jasmine Donahaye for a review copy of Losing Israel. What we are presented here by the author is beautifully written an open and deeply honest account of a troubled landscape and the search for the truth. This is also a riveting travelogue and also an account of Donahayes lifelong passion for Ornithology.
British born Donahaye reflects on her memories of past visits to her parent’s homeland, they left Israel before the author was born but paid many visits to Israel with the first one at the age of ten. Visiting had an effect on Donahaye. Visiting for the first time and seeing how her parents interacted with the locals especially her mother had the desired affect and it became a land she also came to love, many more visits where made and with it the chance to explore the land and discover the birdlife of Israel, which is a major part of Losing Israel.
It was many years later that Donahaye discovered that in 1948 her grandfather was involved in driving out Palestinian’s from their homes and villages which were also destroyed, this became a catalyst for the author to search the history of this troubled land a land she still feels affection for to this day.
The truth sometimes is disturbing and also can hurt, this is where Donahaye excels in the style she writes through this book, and it is an open and deeply honest and passionate account. Some readers may find the tone of the book a little melancholy as she reflects on the past and searching for the truth not only in her family’s history but also the social history of Israel. The reader is will sympathise in the way she tells the story of her search for the truth and the way the Palestinian’s were treated and still are to this day.
As a review I was drawn to the way Donahaye weaved the story from one of searching the history of this land to one of a travelogue and describing the rich diverse birdlife of Israel. Home is now West Wales where the wet landscape surrounding the authors home is also explored, there is an affinity between the two lands and the rich wildlife contained within.
This is a book that may not add to the ongoing debate of this troubled part of the World but it is one woman’s emotional journey so eloquently written which makes Losing Israel a book that deserves to be read.
Meet the Author
Jasmine Donahaye’s publications include poetry, cultural criticism, fiction and creative non-fiction. Her poetry collection, Misappropriations (Parthian, 2006), was shortlisted for the Jerwood Aldeburgh first collection prize, and Self-Portrait as Ruth (Salt, 2009) was longlisted for Wales Book of the Year. Her monograph Whose People? Wales, Israel, Palestine was published in 2012 by the University of Wales Press. She is a creative writing lecturer at Swansea University, specialising in creative non-fiction and poetry. Losing Israel was published 18 June 2015 by Seren Books.