- Fizzy Thoughts: Dream Homes

Dream Homes

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Dream Homes
Joyce Zonana
August 2008
160 pages

Chris very kindly sent me this book. It's a favorite of his, and you should read his lovely review here.

Here is the B&N synopsis:

After the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, newlyweds Felix and Nellie Zonana flee Cairo with their infant daughter Joyce, ending up in Brooklyn. Growing up, Joyce swiftly realizes that her Jewish family and their Egyptian culture are neither typically American nor typically American-Jewish; they eat kobeba instead of kugel and speak French instead of Yiddish. Struggling with her feelings of isolation from other Americans and frustrated by never getting full access to Egyptian-Jewish culture, Zonana strikes out on a life-long journey to find her place in the world.

She meets her extended family living in Colombia and Brazil and travels to Cairo to get a glimpse of her parents' past. After she and her mother survive the devastation of Katrina, Zonana comes to see that "home" is not a location, but a spiritual state of mind. Zonana's heritage and quest are also evoked in numerous photos and family recipes.

While I'm not as big of a fan as Chris, it's definitely not a book that I regret reading. I especially liked the first part of the book, in which Dr. Zonana talks about growing up in New York as the child of Egyptian Jewish immigrants. The descriptions of the food her mother cooked were amazing. I also enjoyed reading about her trip to Cairo in search of her past. Because this book focuses on Dr. Zonana's search for her identity, more than her heritage, I think I started to fade a bit. I'm not a very introspective person...I'd much rather read about places and heritage rather than spiritual quests. However, it's still interesting and I'm grateful to Chris for introducing me to something different.

8 comment(s):

Louise said...

It does sound like an interesting story and one I would be happy to put on my TBR for future reading. Thanks for a great review. I am just now getting back into the swing of things after having been abroad and off line for some weeks, although I did manage to blog a little last week. But it is just now that I am having the time to wander around all those blogs I've missed while I was away ;o)

Chris said...

I'm so glad that you read this one Jill :) It is a very introspective book and I tend to really enjoy things like that, so that explains some of my love for it. I'm right with you on the food descriptions! My mouth watered while reading this book!

LisaMM said...

This sounds like something I'd really enjoy, and at 160 pages I could polish it off in a day! Adding it to the TBR..

Ladytink_534 said...

Sounds like an interesting story but I just adore the cover lol!

bermudaonion said...

This one sounds like it's right up my alley - thanks for the review.

Diane said...

This story really looks good; glad u liked it - great review.

Dar said...

This does sound interesting although like you I like hearing more about the heritage especially when it's one I don't know much about.

Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books said...

This sounds like a more serious book than the cover would imply.

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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