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The Sand Dunes of Paris

Edna Shemesh
Albert, a young Jew from the Maghreb, lives with his family in a small village on the edge of the vast dunes of the Sahara. They are among the last remains of the Maghreb Jewish community, and Albert, aware that he has no future there, leaves his parents and the girl he loves and flies off to Paris, where he will work in his uncle’s greengrocery in the Marais quarter and start a new life. One night, sighs of love rise in the air, disturbing his sleep and arousing his lust for the unknown girl on the other side of the wall. Her name is Anais and Albert knows that he will find no rest until he meets her. Meanwhile, he lives the routine of his Uncle Mordoch’s business, which is a world unto itself, and although he misses his homeland—especially his young brother—he tries to learn the ways of Paris and integrate into its volatile life.
With great sensitivity and subtlety, the big city is described through the eyes of the young immigrant, and the novel dwells on the complex, vulnerable lives of migrants in Paris—Arabs and Jews, North Africans and black sub-Saharans. Edna Shemesh paints a fine portrait of Albert’s uprooted existence, fluctuating between quiet despair and cautious hope. But when he finally starts loving his new life and feeling more settled, a murder occurs in the greengrocery and upsets his world again.

Shemesh’s language is rich and [she has an] impressive ability to braid together the poetic, the sublime and the mundane… Sometimes it seems as if Charles Baudelaire were sitting on her shoulder… An interesting and overwhelming read.
A rich and intriguing story.

[From its] lovely portrait of Paris… there emerges a sharp contrast between preening wealth and everyday poverty; between its historical, cultural and architectural baggage and the characters that inhabit it…It presents moving characters who fight for a place in a city that is simultaneously an object of desire and a threat.
Omri Herzog (Haaretz reviewer)

A superb book!
Yedioth Ashdod

Title The Sand Dunes of Paris
Author’s Last Name Shemesh
Author's First Name Edna
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Hakibbutz Hameuchad
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2013
No. Pages 213 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Dyunot Ha-Chol Shel Paris
Representation Represented by ITHL


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