Sadness Is a White Bird by Moriel Rothman-Zecher

Sadness Is a White Bird

“Nuanced, sharp, and beautifully written, Sadness Is a White Bird manages, with seeming effortlessness, to find something fresh and surprising and poignant in the classic coming-of-age, love-triangle narrative, something starker, more heartbreaking: something new.” —Michael Chabon“Unflinching in its honesty, unyielding in its moral complexity.” —Pulitzer Prize–winning author Geraldine Brooks“A passionate, poetic coming-of-age stor...

Details Sadness Is a White Bird

TitleSadness Is a White Bird
Release DateFeb 13th, 2018
PublisherAtria Books
GenreFiction, Cultural, Israel, Adult Fiction

Reviews Sadness Is a White Bird

  • Elyse
    Extraordinary! I had started this book 2 days ago...a day after having surgery....loved it immediately...but between lots of extra sleep - it wasn’t until today, when I read most of it in a final sweep sitting. For those whom I owe messages to - forgive me — this novel became impossible to put down. We know Jonathan is in an Israeli military jail at the start of this novel.....This story absolutely takes your breath away - so incredibly well ...
  • Diane S ☔
    Once in a while if we as readers are lucky, pick up a book that effects us profoundly. For me, it was this book, I kept putting it down, to think about what I was reading, and yes even to let my emotions level out. The subject is a complicated one, Jewish and Arab relations in Isreal, but the author gives us a personal viewpoint, using three friends, two Arab, one Jewish. When the book opens, Jonathan sits in a jail, he is our narrator and their ...
  • Larry H
    Oh, wow, this book was so gorgeous and moving and amazing! (Sorry I'm not more enthusiastic about it.)Jonathan has just turned 19 and is serving in the Israeli army, a responsibility he has taken very seriously. Yet when Sadness is a White Bird begins, Jonathan is in a military prison, telling his story as a letter of sorts to one of his best friends. But how did someone so eager to serve his country wind up in prison, doubting whether military...
  • Angela M
    When I started to read this story about a young Israeli man who develops a close relationship with a Palestinian brother and sister, it reminded me of a book I read this year, All the Rivers . That one is about an Israeli woman and Palestinian young man who are living in New York and fall in love . Both of these books reflect on the difficulty of deeply emotional relationships charged with the current political and historical reality of the confl...
  • Cheri
    When we’re young, we see all the things we want to change, believing those changes to be easy to accomplish. We find, define our own idea of beauty, we find, define the idea of what we want our “home” to be like, to feel like, a place where our values are part of our lives, our days, where we find acceptance of those values among those we love. Living in harmony. Finding forgiveness from others, from ourselves – hopefully, ultimately – ...
  • Debbie
    4 hearty stars!Okay. So apparently I’m a person who holds a grudge. I realize a grudge makes me pretty huffy and grumpy, so I was sitting there annoyed as hell at the situation—mad at both the book and my snit. Grudges are uncool and they can ruin things. I was dying to read this book, as my friends had chirped and chirped about it, flying around my To Be Read shelf, persuading me to grab this one next. “Oh goodie!” I chirped back. I’m ...
  • Esil
    A very enthusiastic 5 stars!!! This will definitely be one of my favourite novels this year. Sadness Is a White Bird is set in Israel and starts in an jail where 19 year old Jonathan is being detained. Jonathan tells his own story in the form of a lyrical narrative told to his friend Laith. Jonathan is Jewish and Laith is Palestinian. With this premise, this novel does everything a good novel is supposed to do:-I loved how Rothman-Zecher tackles ...
  • Lori
    I have so many feelings swimming through me after finishing this novel. It is a heavy subject that will garner strong feelings. I thought Johnathan’s narrative worked perfectly in allowing the reader to feel firsthand the experience of this conflict on those living through it. The dialogue was very distracting in the beginning with the constant translating but evened out as it went along. I do understand that as impartial as an author strives t...
  • Biljana
    Sadness is a White Bird is a beautiful and sad story of Jonathan, who is in a military jail in Israel. Much of the book is addressed to Laith and serves as a letter of love/apology to Laith and his twin sister, Nimreen. Prior to joining the Israeli army, Jonathan befriends Laith and Nimreen, who are Palestinians; his new friends lead to a great conflict for Jonathan, who has always identified prominently as a Jewish man and Israeli. He finds hims...
  • Kimberly Edge
    An incredible piece of literature that I recommend everyone read, immediately!! The words on every page pulled at my heartstrings and I hated to say goodbye to these characters upon finishing. One of my top 2017 reads for sure. Highly recommend!! ALL THE STARS!
  • Dan
    I'm so happy that I picked up this ARC! I loved every minute of it. Rothman-Zecher's story is a morally complex one that eschews easy answers, choosing instead to focus on a group of unlikely friends trying to find a third path in a polarized culture. Jonathan, an Israeli-American teenager, is a dyed in the wool Zionist. His family suffered great loss in the Holocaust and, as a result, he is super committed to the project of Israel. After spendin...
  • J Verne
    This gorgeous novel broke my heart again and again. SADNESS IS A WHITE BIRD asks so many questions, questions that are perhaps unanswerable--what does it mean to be a good person? what does it mean to be a good citizen? What does it mean to be a good friend?--against the back drop of the Israeli occupation. This novel shows the way history is intertwined with the present and voices the complexities of the human experience in a way that only ficti...
  • Hal Schrieve
    I got the ARC from where I work at a library and I am so happy I did!I think that one thing I need to read a lot more of is fiction from the last five years from Israeli and Palestinian authors that deals with the occupation. This book addresses interpersonal relationships, displacement, trauma, and love and memory in the context of the state of Israel and the Palestinian territories. It’s very sensual, extremely melodramatic, and does deal wit...
  • Kristina Reads - Books. Blogs. Memes.
    TL;DR: An exquisite examination of grief, friendship, and loyalty. Trigger warnings: one really weird scene where some teenage boys compare the lengths of their boners, plus racism and descriptions of violence. You would think that growing up with a Catholic education, I would be well-versed in the details of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, it actually is not a subject with which I am very familiar. Rothman-Zecher's book will take an...
  • Denice Barker
    Never more timely than now, Sadness is a White Bird will likely leave you with more questions than it answers. It will certainly make you think. Jonathan was born in Israel but spent many years in the United States. He feels the strong pull to go back to Israel and do his part to defend his homeland, the homeland his grandfather helped to establish after the Nazi’s exterminated his community. Jonathan doesn’t have any problem with this, it’...
  • Susie Dumond
    This is a very strong debut novel from Moriel Rothman-Zecher. It addresses the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a touching and humanizing way, with a young protagonist questioning his personal beliefs, family history, and role in the ongoing violence. My only critique of the book is that it takes a while to hit its stride, but has the reader firmly in its grip by the end. Overall, a powerful narrative and definitely worth a read. Thanks to the pub...
  • Victoria G
    Intense and beautiful. I loved this book.
  • Vickie
    Sadness is a White Bird examines both sides of the Israeli Palestinian conflict through the eyes of a young American Israeli man, Jonathan. Born in Israel but raised in the United States, his family returns to Israel to be with his ailing grandfather while Jonathan completes high school and joins the army. While a student, he becomes close with the twin son and daughter of his motherçs Palastinian friend. The story opens with Jonathan in a milit...
  • Julia Kardon
    Every time I refer back to this novel, I get sucked back in to the life of teenage Jonathan and his friends Laith and Nimreen. The writing is so evocative that you feel immediately transported into Jonathan's world, with all of the complexities tugging him in different directions. Torn between his heritage/family pressures and his new friends whom he loves and admires, Jonathan struggles to define himself. I'm so grateful I was not forced to make...
  • Diane Payne
    Years ago, I remember watching a documentary about friendships between young adults enduring this political crisis, Like that film, this novel will also stay with me for a long time. The writing was beautiful, the characters incredibly real, the political crisis acute, and the relationships between all the characters were not only surprising at times, but deeply intimate and conflicted. I don't want to give anything away, but when I got toward th...