“Tsabari’s characters will step off the page to captivate readers.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
Confident, original and humane, these stories are peopled with characters at the crossroads of nationalities, religions and communities: expatriates, travellers, immigrants and locals. The Best Place on Earth illuminates the tenuous connections—forged, frayed and occasionally destroyed—between cultures, between generations and across the gulf of transformation and loss.
In the powerfully affecting opening story, “Tikkun,” a chance meeting between a man and his former lover carries them through near tragedy and into unexpected peace. In “Casualties,” Tsabari takes us into the military—a world every Israeli knows all too well—with a brusque, sexy young female soldier who forges medical leave forms to make ends meet.
Poets, soldiers, siblings and dissenters, the protagonists here are mostly Israelis of Mizrahi background (Jews of Middle Eastern and North African descent) whose stories have rarely been told in literature. In illustrating the lives of those whose identities swing from fiercely patriotic to powerfully global, Ayelet Tsabari explores Israeli history even as she reveals the universality of war, love, heartbreak and hope.
About the author
Ayelet Tsabari was born in Israel to a large family of Yemeni descent. She wrote her first story in English in 2007. She is the author of The Art of Leaving, winner of the Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Memoir, finalist for the Writer's Trust Hilary Weston Prize, finalist for the Vine Awards for Nonfiction, and an Apple Books, CBC Books, and Kirkus Review Best Book of 2019. Her first book, The Best Place On Earth, won both the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and the Edward Lewis Wallant Award for Jewish Fiction, was longlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, was a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice and Kirkus Review Best Book of 2016, and has been published internationally. Her translations appeared in the New Quarterly, Berlin Quarterly, Paper Brigade, and Mantis. She teaches creative writing at The University of King's College MFA, the University of Guelph Creative Writing MFA, and at Tel Aviv University. She lives in Toronto.
Stories about Israelis of Yemeni descentThere's an intensity to Tsabari's stories that probably mimics the experience of life in contemporary Israel. I loved the glimpses they gave into the inner and outer worlds of her characters.
Loved it!Fabulous short story collection by Yemeni-Israeli-Canadian author Ayelet Tsabari. Takes place in different parts of Israel. Each story pulses, full of life. Highly recommended!
Other titles by Ayelet Tsabari
On Longing and Belonging through Language
The Art of Leaving
The Journey Prize Stories 29
The Best of Canada's New Writers
A Sign Of Harmony
The Poets In The Kitchen Window
Related blog posts
Ariela Freedman: Jewish Canadian Fiction
A recommended reading list by the award-winning author of the new novel A Joy To Be Hidden.
8 Books that Need to Be in Every Classroom in Canada
A recommended reading list by Chelene Knight.
Irena Karafilly's Displacement and Misplacement List
What happens when the places where we once belonged—and the people we once belonged to—don't belong to us anymore?