Fields of Exile

Paperback | April 19, 2014

byNora GoldIllustratorPeter Worsley

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2015 Canadian Jewish Literary Awards - Winner, Fiction

Judith finds the courage to stand up for her beliefs and protest anti-Semitic hypocrisy.

Judith is a young woman who lived in Israel for a decade, was a peace activist there, and defines herself as "left-wing," yet in graduate school back in Canada, she discovers that vilification of Israel is the expected norm. When the keynote speaker for Anti-Oppression Day turns out to be a supporter of terrorist attacks not only against Israeli military targets, but also against Israeli civilians and Jews around the world, Judith protests. As a result, she is marginalized by the faculty and her peers, and her life begins to unravel.

This is a moving novel about love, betrayal, and the courage to stand up for what one believes, as well as a searing indictment of the hypocrisy and intellectual sloth that threaten the integrity of our society.

'Wistful Woman' painting on the cover was created by Peter Worsley (http://www.peterworsley.com/), and used with the artist's permission.

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From the Publisher

2015 Canadian Jewish Literary Awards - Winner, FictionJudith finds the courage to stand up for her beliefs and protest anti-Semitic hypocrisy. Judith is a young woman who lived in Israel for a decade, was a peace activist there, and defines herself as "left-wing," yet in graduate school back in Canada, she discovers that vilification o...

Dr. Nora Gold is a prize-winning author, activist, and scholar. Her first book, Marrow and Other Stories, received glowing reviews and won a Canadian Jewish Book Award. Gold is editor-in-chief of the literary journal Jewish Fiction .net, and Writer-in-Residence and Associate Scholar at OISE/University of Toronto's Centre for Women's St...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:424 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.96 inPublished:April 19, 2014Publisher:DundurnLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1459721462

ISBN - 13:9781459721463

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Customer Reviews of Fields of Exile

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from All thumbs up! Nora Gold is a wonderfully talented writer and Fields of Exile is a rare gem. This is an important and amazingly timely novel, dense with lively ideas. At the same time it is a passionate love story and a page-turner. I strongly recommend this book!
Date published: 2014-05-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fields of Exile As I was reading Nora Gold's Fields' of Exile, I came cross a Wall Street Journal report in Canada's Globe & Mail on a recent survey by the Anti-Defamation League providing world-wide data on the prevalence of Anti-Semitism and other forms of religious intolerance. Its pollsters found that "the only religious group with a higher unfavourability rating than Jews [21%] was Muslims [24%)]." Clearly, wherever you live, and whatever your specific cultural and religious practices and political stance, in a poll of 53,100 interviews in 96 languages, you, as an individual, can be conflated with a specious and artificially constructed category and be "unfriended" by a frighteningly large group of people who are guilty of an uncritical acceptance of archaic and inaccurate discourses ("Jews have too much power in the business world") and overgeneralizations (all of you are terrorists). Some people clearly see no difference between individuals and the government who implements their country's unjust policies, or between those who do violence in their r country's or faith's name—and those who a oppose it. Which is to say that the survey is once source that clearly confirmed Gold's narrative argument. What I appreciated about Fields of Exile, was the author's consistent efforts to both describe the kind of attempts at peace-making from those Jews and Palestinians who rarely get acknowledged for it in the western media, and to acknowledge the atrocities committed by governments on both sides of the Palestinian-Israeli divide. In short, Gold describes the varied circumstances in which her protagonist, Judith, is distressed by the ambiguities of what she witnesses and experiences even as she tries to clarify and secure her identity, loyalties and affiliations. The protagonist is not at ease with the Israel she initially came to love (which even then she romanticized), and she is no longer at ease with an Israeli government that has walled off its Palestinian population, and enabled an increasing number of settlers to appropriate Palestinian land. But neither is she averse to articulating the existential terror of potential death by bus bombing by those claiming to be Palestinian nationalists, by those who use violence to affect what they perceive to be justice. Or by describing the contradictory nature of Canadians and other progressives holding Israel apartheid demonstrations during which, in proclaiming general bans, they stand to silence Israelis who are critic al of their governmental policies from speaking out about them. The novel explores the notion that you cannot help the homeland you come to love, as it clearly cries out to you. Even if the homeland is construed as both abuser as abused, both sinned against and sinning. The story is slowly, carefully developed, juxtaposing the protagonist's sexual politics in which there are two loved ones, with her venture through the terrain of the perpetually politically-changed university, possibly most fraught for those in so-called progressive departments who feel responsible to speak out against inequity–as they perceive it. The novel is incredibly discomfiting to read on so many levels. And so worthy of being read-- and discussed with others— for courageously articulating its complex perspective.
Date published: 2014-05-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read. I enjoyed this compelling novel.It deals with disturbing contemporary issues that the feisty heroine Judith confronts with courage, honesty and humour.
Date published: 2014-05-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A fascinating read! Gold writes with a deep understanding of academia, anti-oppression work and the struggles of being part of two cultures. I was both educated and entertained. Her main character, Judith, is a complex woman who made me laugh and cry.
Date published: 2014-05-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A compelling read Gold has a wonderful gift in developing her characters as real people. When you first read about Judith's trust in her professors, you want to grab hold of her and warn her to be careful. It is obvious in reading this novel that Gold has a deep understanding of the world of academia. One learns so much about Israel and Jewish customs in this novel. Gold also quotes Shakespeare on several occasions. She loves words and plays with their meaning. She has a wicked sense of humour. She also understands Israeli and Canadian culture. I would recommend this novel to people of all religions because she explains her foreign terms in a glossary at the back of the book.
Date published: 2014-05-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly recommended Nora Gold is a wonderful story teller. Her first hand knowledge of Israeli and Canadian culture make this a lively and engaging read.
Date published: 2014-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly recommended Nora Gold is a wonderful story teller. Her first hand knowledge of Israeli and Canadian culture make this a lively and engaging read.
Date published: 2014-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fields of Exile is fascinating A compelling story with a strong female protagonist. I learned a lot about academic politics and what it takes to stand up for your principles.
Date published: 2014-05-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fields of Exile is a fantastic book! I love this book. It's amazing!
Date published: 2014-04-26

Extra Content

Editorial Reviews

Given the climate of anti-Israel hatred, this book is an excellent choice for book discussion clubs and interfaith and inter-political dialogue. - The Association of Jewish Libraries