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The People of Forever Are Not Afraid

A Novel

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A “searing debut” about three young women coming of age, experiencing “the absurdities of life and love on the precipice of violence” (Vogue)
   Yael, Avishag, and Lea grow up together in a tiny, dusty Israeli village, attending a high school made up of caravan classrooms, passing notes to each other to alleviate the universal boredom of teenage life. When they are conscripted into the army, their lives change in unpredictable ways, influencing the women they become and the friendship that they struggle to sustain. Yael trains marksmen and flirts with boys. Avishag stands guard, watching refugees throw themselves at barbed-wire fences. Lea, posted at a checkpoint, imagines the 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.
   In a relentlessly energetic and arresting voice marked by humor and fierce intelligence, Shani Boianjiu, winner of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35,” creates an unforgettably intense world, capturing that unique time in a young woman's life when a single moment can change everything.

Publishers Weekly Review

Jul 09, 2012 – Here’s what we all know about Israel: it’s constantly preparing for war, fighting a war, and recovering from war. And everyone, male or female (except the ultra-Orthodox), serves in the Israeli Defense Forces. Here’s what we probably don’t know, and what Boianjiu’s impressive debut gives us some inkling of: what it’s like to be a teenage girl in the army. Yael, Avishag, and Lea, who grew up together in a tiny town built on the Israel-Lebanon border to “jewdify the Galilee,” join up in time for the 2006 war with Lebanon. They train men to shoot, do guard duty, and work on a checkpoint: their days are boring, funny, occasionally dangerous, and frequently surreal. Sometimes the three girls blur together, but mostly Boianjiu’s in control of what she wants to blur. Her POV shifts and rapid-fire language reflect the ongoing merger of ordinary life and PTSD and how the heightened awareness of a country on permanent alert turns into a kind of moral slackness, with results that range from inconsequential to horrifying. If at times we aren’t sure whether to believe some of the more extreme details, that blur—between what we suspect is false but fear is true—is likely deliberate, another thing Boianjiu wants us to understand about this country we talk about so much and know so little about.
The People of Forever Are Not Afraid
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Sep 11, 2012
  • Publisher: Crown/Archetype
  • Seller: Random House, LLC
  • Print Length: 368 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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