Three girls, Yael, Avishag and Lea, who grow up together in the same village may have very different home lives and experiences but one experience they all have to share is required service in the Israeli army. In Shani Boianjiu’s debut novel The People of Forever Are Not Afraid, different chapters focus on a different girl, sometimes their lives in the village, in their time of serving and post service, are combined. At other times, we find each girl as she is on her own, trying to make her way through her service – sometimes through sex, sometimes American TV shows, sometimes destructive behavior. They each come out the other end not only a different woman, but truly altered.
I found Boianjiu’s writing raw and gripping. While reading on life experiences that were so foreign from my own I wasn’t always sure of what to make of what I was reading. Sometimes the story was so far-fetched and over the top I was a little put off, but I think that I was probably supposed to be. Boianjiu’s voice was beyond a voice I knew, but that’s the point of reading right, to go someplace different, and not always comfortable.
** I received this book for review from the publisher **