The People of Forever Are Not Afraid

The People of Forever Are Not Afraid

A Novel

Book - 2012
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Shani Boianjiu's stunning debut gives us a world where girls in the Israeli Defense Forces wait, endlessly--for womanhood, orders, war, peace. Yael trains marksmen and flirts with boys. Avishag stands guard, watching refugees throw themselves at barbed-wire fences. Lea, posted at a checkpoint, imagines stories behind the familiar faces that pass by her day after day. They gossip about boys and whisper of an ever more violent world just beyond view. They drill, constantly, for a moment that may never come. They live inside that single, intense second just before danger erupts. And they find that their dreams have stranger repercussions than they have been trained to imagine.
Publisher: Toronto : Bond Street Books, c2012.
ISBN: 9780385676892
Characteristics: 338 p. ;,22 cm.


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RogerDeBlanck Jul 24, 2018

Shani Boianjiu’s outstanding debut novel entrances you with its vision and understanding of modern war. The central story chronicles the lives of three teenage Israeli girls—Yael, Avishag, and Lea—all of them seniors in high school and soon to be conscripted into the army. Brilliantly paced and structured, the novel allows for each of the girl’s distinctive perspectives to emerge. Oftentimes transitioning between the visceral and the surreal, the layering of stories within stories and the interconnectedness among characters over time, place, and events make for an exhilarating narrative that stuns and shocks with the unveiling of each of the girls’ experiences.

Boianjiu addresses the fear and uncertainty of the girls and relates how their teetering despair fuels rebellion against their confusion and loneliness. As challenges surface throughout their two years of military service and beyond, their need to feel alive and meaningful in the world becomes obsessive. This need simmers with urgency and gathers into a searing force to confront the outrage of injustice and inhumanity and to achieve their desire for independence. The People of Forever Are Not Afraid is a stellar literary work, full of energy and also humor. It is fierce, enthralling, eye-opening, and ultimately life-affirming as it charts the lives of the three girls on the cusp of womanhood and a future for themselves in which they yearn for direction in their lives.

Apr 04, 2014

This novel tells the story of three childhood girlfriends and their lives before, mostly during, and after their conscription to the Israeli army which brutalizes and changes them. It is well-written and innovative in its more surreal parts. However, the book is entirely from the point of view of the Israeli military and the characters are inward, thinking only of themselves and damaged by their experiences and the political context in which they live. The reader doesn't really care about them in the end. Boianjiu is a precocious author (this book was written when she was in her early 20s), but her talent is squandered here.

debwalker Dec 07, 2012

Explosive debut novel in stories that follow three young women who serve in the Israeli army

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