A Girl in a Blue Shirt is a remarkable love story that takes place in the 1950s, the first decade of the State of Israel. Yonatan Marciano, a young immigrant from Morocco, is in love with the beautiful Israeli-born Nurit Stav, who looks strikingly like al-Kahina, an ancient Jewish Berber queen. Nurit, however, is in love with Bolush, a Holocaust survivor from Poland. In order to win her, Yonatan turns to his uncle Amram, who was a famous exorcist in Morocco. He also uses his own skill as a storyteller, like Scheherazade—telling exotic tales of Morocco, whose colors and smells are unknown to Nurit.
The novel is written as a diary that Yonatan keeps from the age of 14 until after his army service, at age 21. In it, he writes of his longing for his beloved whose father owns a movie theater in Haifa, and about the consolation he finds in watching movies. For in those days, it was clear who were the heroes and who the villains, who would draw his weapon quicker, and who would win the beautiful heroine at the end. Of course, Yonatan wants to draw first and to be a hero like Gary Cooper, but the only weapons he has are his imagination and words. Later on, when he is called “a poet” at school, his father buys him a typewriter and sits him down to write the family story, in order to perpetuate the memory of a world that was once full of life and is now fading away.
PARTIAL ENGLISH TRANSLATION AVAILABLE (for publishers only).
A Girl in a Blue Shirt won the Book Publishers Association's Gold Prize, 2014.
A collage of rich and colorful characters…This book should be read slowly, every detail dwelt on, and the power of each character wondered at.
A very moving Israeli tale…told with great charm and superb literary ability…A charming love story between a boy and a girl, that will intrigue and fascinate.
The magical realism that weaves reality with imagination makes me want to find Bensimhon and hug him for this beautiful book.