An unsentimental, iconoclastic coming-of-age story of both a country - Israel - and a young immigrant. An unforgettable glimpse of a time and place rarely observed from an unsparing point of view.
A number-one bestseller in London and the winner of Britain's prestigious Orange Prize for Fiction, When I Lived in Modern Times is one woman's story of discovery--of herself, of her heritage, and of the nation that would one day become Israel.
It is April 1946. For a weary and exhausted Europe, it's a time to begin picking up the pieces of the past, and for the armies of displaced persons on the move to slowly return home--if they still have one. But for Evelyn Sert, a twenty year-old woman from London standing on the deck of a ship bound for Palestine, it is a time of adventure and a time of change when anything seems possible.
Landing on the shores of a nation fighting to be born, Evelyn is quickly caught up in the spirited, chaotic churning of her new, strange country. Unsure of herself and where she belongs in this world whose only constant is change, she will become Eve and work in the unbearable heat of a kibbutz. As Evelyn, she will find a home, and a collection of friends as eccentric and disparate as the teeming metropolis of Tel Aviv itself. And as Priscilla, she will find love with a man who is not what he seems to be, as she is swept up as an unwitting spy in an underground army that is beyond anything she's ever imagined.
A coming-of-age story unlike any other, When I Lived in Modern Times illuminates a page of Twentieth century history that is at once exotic and familiar through the eyes of one of the most unforgettable heroines in contemporary fiction.
WHEN I look back I see myself at twenty. I was at an age when anything seemed possible, at the beginning of times when anything was possible. I was standing on the deck dreaming; across the Mediterranean we sailed, from one end to the other, past Crete and Cyprus to where the East begins. Mare nostrum. Our sea. But I was not in search of antiquity. I was looking for a place without artifice or sentiment, where life was stripped back to its basics, where things were fundamental and serious and above all modern.
This is my story. Scratch a Jew and youve got a story. If you dont like elaborate picaresques full of unlikely events and tortuous explanations, steer clear of the Jews. If you want things to be straightforward, find someone else to listen to. You might even get to say something yourself. How do we begin a sentence?
"Listen . . ."
A sailor pointed out to me a little ship on the horizon, one whose role as a ship was supposed to be finished, which had reached ...
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