City of a Thousand Gates (Compact Disc)
In this debut novel, the author describes with equal empathy and compassion the conflicted and complicated lives of more than a dozen characters who live side by side but separately in modern Israel, aka occupied Palestine: Ori and his mates who are doing their compulsory military service for Israel, Emily and Rachel, young Jewish Americans who have emigrated to Israel, Samar, a Muslim professor at Bethlehem University, Mai, a university student from a wealthy Palestinian family, Vera, a German journalist, and several more. Their lives intersect in serendipitous ways during a tense period in Palestinian-Israeli relations after the deaths of two young teenagers, one Israeli and one Palestinian. This is a story of walls and barbed wire, of checkpoints and guns, of the legacy of dispossession, and of the irony of a previously subjugated people now subjugating another group of people to ensure their own safety.— Alice
"A stunning first novel...imbued with foreboding at every turn...Through her vibrant characters, Sacks paints a moving and powerful portrait of those who love the region passionately despite its many tensions and dangers." --Booklist (Starred Review)
A beautifully written, brave, and incredibly compassionate novel. I couldn't put it down." --Etaf Rum
Sacks deeply humanizes a conflict that dehumanizes on every level." --Nicole Krauss
Brave and bold, this gorgeously written novel introduces a large cast of characters from various backgrounds in a setting where violence is routine and where survival is defined by boundaries, walls, and checkpoints that force people to live and love within and across them.
Hamid, a college student, has entered Israeli territory illegally for work. Rushing past soldiers, he bumps into Vera, a German journalist headed to Jerusalem to cover the story of Salem, a Palestinian boy beaten into a coma by a group of revenge-seeking Israeli teenagers. On her way to the hospital, Vera runs in front of a car that barely avoids hitting her. The driver is Ido, a new father traveling with his American wife and their baby. Ido is distracted by thoughts of a young Jewish girl murdered by a terrorist who infiltrated her settlement. Ori, a nineteen-year-old soldier from a nearby settlement, is guarding the checkpoint between Bethlehem and Jerusalem through which Samar--Hamid's professor--must pass.
These multiple strands open this magnificent and haunting novel of present-day Israel and Palestine, following each of these diverse characters as they try to protect what they love. Their interwoven stories reveal complicated, painful truths about life in this conflicted land steeped in hope, love, hatred, terror, and blood on both sides.
City of a Thousand Gates brilliantly evokes the universal drives that motivate these individuals to think and act as they do--desires for security, for freedom, for dignity, for the future of one's children, for land that each of us, no matter who or where we are, recognize and share.
Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.