Thursday, February 23, 2012

Jericho (global reading challenge #6)

My bookshelf of 2012 so far developed 2 themes: one is - sparked by the global reading challenge - the re-discovery of books that waited so long to be read that i almost forgot about them. Like "Anar" and "Disappearance" (#2 + #4 of my challenge reads). And now: "Jericho", by Angelika Schrobsdorff. This book was printed in, well, 1995. But compared to the subject, that really is no time at all: Jericho belongs to the oldest cities of this world. Traces of an old townwall date back to 8000 B.C. 

Jericho's history would probably fill a book of thousands of pages. What Schrobsdorff manages in her novel of 220 pages: to lead back into the recent past and beyond. The novel is based on her own visits to the city, and has journal-character, with 2 levels: her own life, and the political development, including the Palestinian refugee camps, the start of the Intifida, the Camp David peace plan, the hopes it brought to Jericho and the whole region, and the difficult process onwards. Schrobsdorff's bio herself is like the prelude to the novel: she grew up in the 1930s Berlin, fled with her mother to Bulgaria in 1938 - a time that she remembers in the novel when she sees the camps near Jericho. In 1947 she returned to Germany, later lived in Paris, then in Munich, and emigrated to Israel, and later moved back to Berlin.

Which leads to the other theme that developed: cities. There's the Paris book that lead into the year, my own visit to Munich in January, the re-visit of the Berlin story last week, which also is a journal in time (Four Berlins, or: I am (t)here), the "Ledra Street" story collection that is about Nikosia ... and now: Jericho.

If you look for Jericho on the map above, you find it a bit to the right from Jerusalem. My reading now will lead southwards: towards the desert of Egypt, passing Cairo.

Global + European Reading Challenge
this year, i am taking part in a global and in an european reading challenge. the idea: to read books from each continent of the world / several countries of europe. so far i've been to:
- book 5: Ledra Street (Europe/Cyprus)
- book 4: Disappearance. A Map (N-America/Alaska)
- book 3: Paris was Ours (Europe/France)
- book 2: Anar (Asia/Azerbaijan)
- book 1: The Tigers's Wife (Europe/former Yugoslavia)
- more books: virtual bookshelf
- about: the Global Reading Challenge

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