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The Art of Leaving PDF, ePub eBook An unforgettable memoir about a young woman who tries to outrun loss, but eventually finds a way home. Ayelet Tsabari was 21 years old the first time she left Tel Aviv with no plans to return. Restless after two turbulent mandatory years in the Israel Defense Forces, Tsabari longed to get away. It was not the never-ending conflict that drove her, but the grief that had shak An unforgettable memoir about a young woman who tries to outrun loss, but eventually finds a way home. Ayelet Tsabari was 21 years old the first time she left Tel Aviv with no plans to return. Restless after two turbulent mandatory years in the Israel Defense Forces, Tsabari longed to get away. It was not the never-ending conflict that drove her, but the grief that had shaken the foundations of her home. The loss of Tsabari’s beloved father in years past had left her alienated and exiled within her own large Yemeni family and at odds with her Mizrahi identity. By leaving, she would be free to reinvent herself and to rewrite her own story. For nearly a decade, Tsabari travelled, through India, Europe, the US and Canada, as though her life might go stagnant without perpetual motion. She moved fast and often because—as in the Intifada—it was safer to keep going than to stand still. Soon the act of leaving—jobs, friends and relationships—came to feel most like home. But a series of dramatic events forced Tsabari to examine her choices and her feelings of longing and displacement. By periodically returning to Israel, Tsabari began to examine her Jewish-Yemeni background and the Mizrahi identity she had once rejected, as well as unearthing a family history that had been untold for years. What she found resonated deeply with her own immigrant experience and struggles with new motherhood. Beautifully written, frank and poignant, The Art of Leaving is a courageous coming-of-age story that reflects on identity and belonging and that explores themes of family and home—both inherited and chosen.

30 review for The Art of Leaving

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    I fell head over heals the first time I read “The Best Place on Earth”, by Ayelet Tsabari. The collection of short stories each stands alone - but the themes blend together — life in Israel, ( society, culture, night life, customs, the military, the threat of living with violence, identity, relationships between lovers, family, and friends), Israelis who migrated to Canada, with a focus on Mizrahi and Yemeni Jews. Each story so personal - the characters come alive. The stories are really captiva I fell head over heals the first time I read “The Best Place on Earth”, by Ayelet Tsabari. The collection of short stories each stands alone - but the themes blend together — life in Israel, ( society, culture, night life, customs, the military, the threat of living with violence, identity, relationships between lovers, family, and friends), Israelis who migrated to Canada, with a focus on Mizrahi and Yemeni Jews. Each story so personal - the characters come alive. The stories are really captivating- personal - relatable - and totally enjoyable. Many months later, our local book club loved these stories, too. “The Art of Leaving”, - essays - is Ayelet’s memoir. Her essays blend together in the same way her short stories did in “The Best Place on Earth”. Themes center around growing up: childhood. adolescence, and young adult. Her book is divided into three sections: HOME, LEAVING, & RETURN. Within these sections - are individual stories representing stages & ages of Ayelet’s life. This was ‘tons’ more enjoyable than I was expecting. I saw this book on Netgalley - early- but didn’t jump to read it. Many thanks to Esil ( her review is wonderful), for being my ‘jump-to-it ‘ inspiration. I had justified my ‘waiting’.....( maybe our Jewish book club will read it later?/! Point is I had forgotten how incredibly personal - raw - touching - and sparklingly enjoyable it is to read Ayelet’s prose. Moving - funny at times - soulful - tender - unique personal colorful stories. I related - closely with Ayelet. Ayelet lost her father to death at age 10. I was 4 when my dad died. But those questions that remained with Ayelet her entire life growing up without a father - are the same questions - I’ve lived with too. Ayelet’s father died during the night when she was sleeping - (same for me). I related to this except .....(she wrote words that fit exactly what I went through, too) “I will sleep an entire night ignorant of that loss, and the next morning, I will wake up still knowing, un-orphaned ( and for the first few weeks after his death, every morning will begin with the same blissful amnesia before I am hijacked by remembering”). After the horrible news ..... Ayelet says: “That moment, crystallized in my memory through the fog of grief, will be the fork in the road where my future splits in two: what could have happened had he lived and what happened because he didn’t. And as they grow up, I will try to live as wildly and loudly as I can to outdo the enormity of this moment, to diminish it”. WOW! Thank you Ayelet Tsabari!!! Ayelet’s personal journey continued to sneak up on me and by the time I got to the end -( she lives her life with gusto), I was wishing to know her more.....as in hang out! I’ll never hesitate again about reading Ayelet’s books. This woman can write!!! Thank you Random House, Netgalley, and Ayelet Tsabari P.S. I share the say May 24th birthday with Ayelet 🎂

  2. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    3.8 stars for the land of cool metaphors This memoir is by an Israeli who lived in several countries and tells of her emotional journal. The book is very smart. It didn’t knock my socks off, like the author’s collection of short stories, The Best Place on Earth, did. Ah, but never mind-- there’s a full Joy Jar, lots of shout-outs. Yes, of course there are some complaints, but the joys outnumbered them. Joy Jar -Metaphors galore. And I mean good ones. The author gets an A-plus in this department—ju 3.8 stars for the land of cool metaphors This memoir is by an Israeli who lived in several countries and tells of her emotional journal. The book is very smart. It didn’t knock my socks off, like the author’s collection of short stories, The Best Place on Earth, did. Ah, but never mind-- there’s a full Joy Jar, lots of shout-outs. Yes, of course there are some complaints, but the joys outnumbered them. Joy Jar -Metaphors galore. And I mean good ones. The author gets an A-plus in this department—just wow. She seems to do it with an economy of words, no fluff, and the images form instantly, sharp in your mind. There’s atmosphere out the ying-yang. Get a load of these sentences: “It’s April and cool for the season, the breeze a thin, silky scarf. The sky is the color of white linen that was accidentally laundered with a blue sock.” “The sky is mucky and grey, an ashtray left on a rainy porch.” “Lights burn yellow holes in the dark buildings.” -She’s a total bad ass. I don’t know why, but when a person come across as a very serious writer, you aren’t expecting a wild child who smokes cigarettes and has carried an Uzi (she did mandatory military service). You just don’t. There are many wild stories, but no need for me to ruin the surprise. I just loved the bad-ass parts, and they reminded me of her fantastic short story collection. -Loved the introspection. There is a lot of interior emotions and self-examination, which I adore. I liked her struggle to become a writer. The drive to write was always a part of her, sometimes buried deep, and getting there took a while. -Loved her adventures and chronicle of her relationships. She makes everything juicy but in a quiet way. She had one traumatic thing happen to her, which was harrowing. -Loved to visit different continents. The author went back and forth between Israel and Canada many times, trying to find home. She also did a long stint in India. Her life in the different countries was fascinating. A great sentence about how you feel on landing in a foreign country: “Everything was coated with the surreal haze that followed extended air travel, tinged with strangeness and fatigue, the inconceivability of being here, now.” -A woman in search of a home. She was constantly trying to figure out why she liked to leave instead of stay, and she had interesting ideas about the concept of home. “As a roving twenty-something, I enjoyed toying with the idea of home as if it was a fluid negotiable term, a mental RV, a headspace.” -I’m a complete wuss; please don’t sting me! I’m not going to lie--I was unchy and afraid when I saw there was an entire chapter about hornets. Can I help it that I have a bee phobia? I blame my mother, who went running around the yard screaming every time she saw one. Anyway, I loved this chapter even though I was biting my nails half the time and looking out furtively for hornets. -Liked learning about Jews from Yemen who live in Israel. Fascinating culture, and the author chronicles it well. Jews from Yemen are treated as inferior by other Jews in Israel, and this prejudice affects her deeply. Complaint Board -How am I supposed to give a hoot? I appreciate (and usually tear up) when I hear tributes for people I’ve known and loved, and famous people I’ve liked. The author spends a lot of time talking about her dad and his greatness. He seriously sounds like a cool man, but her praise goes on and on and is monotonous and meaningless to me since I didn’t know him. Way too much on daddy-poo. Sorry. (I know, I know, I sound callous, but can I help it that I’ve ingested some truth serum?) -Just too much about family traditions and history. I know I said I liked the culture part, but there was too much talk of her heritage and traditions. It became a snooze, especially compared to her relationships and adventures, which showed a brazen, rebellious, and overall wild chick. There were also too many relatives to keep track of. The last chapters were especially heritage-centric. -Give me more adventure. The metaphors were truly great, but they require work. Drama and dialogue are my thing. -Can we stay out of the kitchen? Pretty please… I don’t cook, so describing how the author’s mother makes food doesn’t turn me on. Nor does a wholesome hang-out session in the kitchen. There’s a whole (what felt like a long) chapter on recipes! Many details of ingredients. (And way too much cilantro!) A mom who is Betty Crocker even though she’s an exotic one, bores me to tears and makes me want to go out back and chug some beer—and I don’t even drink beer. I did find myself not totally hating the chapter, only because Tsabari is such a skilled writer she can get away with it—a little. Here’s a great sentence about her cooker mom: “She disappeared into the kitchen, became one with the appliances. Food replaced her words; cooking became her currency.” The author probably could write about a phone book and I’d be happy. Still, I’m in a snit about the whole recipe thing. It was supposed to be very yum yum but instead it was a big ho hum. -Motherhood, oh dear. I wasn’t impressed with her thoughts about motherhood, which has nothing to do with the merit of the book. It’s just that sometimes we like to relate. I’m going to stay mum re mum-land in case you want to read this book. And to sum up… I would have liked the whole book to be just about her adventures, relationships, and self-analysis, which reminded me of her rich short stories. But her language and metaphors are just brilliant, so even the boring parts weren’t bad. I’m in awe that the author can write so beautifully in English, since Hebrew is her native language. (Funny, my last book was set in Israel too—an excellent novel called Holy Lands.) I look forward to Tsabari’s next book of short stories or other fiction. Final word: Not enough people know about this great writer. Check her out! Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Esil

    4+ stars I read and really liked Ayelet Tsabari’s book of short stories, The Best Place on Earth. Her memoir, The Art of Leaving, is almost a companion to her book of short stories – she covers many of the same places and I recognize the sensibilities and experiences of her main characters. Although she is only in her 40s, Tsabari has had an interesting life and her writing is expressive and engaging. Tsabari was born in Israel to parents of Yemeni origin. Her father died when she was 10 years ol 4+ stars I read and really liked Ayelet Tsabari’s book of short stories, The Best Place on Earth. Her memoir, The Art of Leaving, is almost a companion to her book of short stories – she covers many of the same places and I recognize the sensibilities and experiences of her main characters. Although she is only in her 40s, Tsabari has had an interesting life and her writing is expressive and engaging. Tsabari was born in Israel to parents of Yemeni origin. Her father died when she was 10 years old. Her grandmother had been abandoned by her own mother when she was 2 years old. Until recently, Tsabari has led an unconventional life, traveling the world, strongly attached to her family and people but often looking to leave and looking to move on. Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of her life – her father’s death, her military service, her travels to India, time spent in New York, returning to Israel to learn more about her family, becoming a mother, etc… As she writes, she slowly discovers where she comes from and what motivates her. This is a rich memoir with lots of food for thought. I’m definitely looking forward to her next book. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cindy H.

    Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing for gifting me with this remarkable memoir. In exchange for the ARC I offer my unbiased review. Without a doubt I will be purchasing a physical copy of this stunning memoir so I can share it with friends and family. This collection of essays resonated with me on so many personal levels; daughter, mother, expat, Jew. I highlighted so many passages and shed too many tears. Although Ayelet Tsabari and I grew up oceans apart and lived very different Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing for gifting me with this remarkable memoir. In exchange for the ARC I offer my unbiased review. Without a doubt I will be purchasing a physical copy of this stunning memoir so I can share it with friends and family. This collection of essays resonated with me on so many personal levels; daughter, mother, expat, Jew. I highlighted so many passages and shed too many tears. Although Ayelet Tsabari and I grew up oceans apart and lived very different lifestyles, I found such a strong familiarity within the pages of her story. Her vivid writing & brilliant sense for sights, sounds, smells, streets and neighborhoods kept me devouring the pages and acknowledging the truth of her experiences. “Home is collecting stories, writing them down, and retelling them.” “I remind myself we get to keep our memories and stories, take them with us wherever we go.” Israel is not some foreign land to me, but a place I consider a second home. And I recognize the scars, thorns and messy implications that carries and I applaud Ayelet Tsabari for presenting her homeland in an honest light. “Our country is haunted by its dead, weighted down by loss and remembrance.” I hope this book will resonate with all readers the way it did for me.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ann-Marie

    Ayelet Tsabari is an Israeli woman of Yemeni family, whose life was shaped by her ethnicity and by her beloved father's death when she was nine. She became untethered, unmoored, wandering the globe, searching for experiences that would help her define herself. "The Art of Leaving" is the story of that search. It is raw, gutsy and honest. A very worthwhile story of how one woman found her place in the world. I received this book free from Random House and Goodreads in exchange for an honest review Ayelet Tsabari is an Israeli woman of Yemeni family, whose life was shaped by her ethnicity and by her beloved father's death when she was nine. She became untethered, unmoored, wandering the globe, searching for experiences that would help her define herself. "The Art of Leaving" is the story of that search. It is raw, gutsy and honest. A very worthwhile story of how one woman found her place in the world. I received this book free from Random House and Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Olga Gamer

    I tried, I tried so hard to make it through this memoir. The writing is beautiful but there's no real sense of structure and at a certain point, it felt hard to navigate the lack of cohesiveness. While I really liked the narrator at certain parts, other times I found her aimlessness frustrating and without purpose. I wanted more of an exploration of her grief as it related to her father's death but at the time of her enrollment in the Israeli Defense Forces, her father had been dead for nearly n I tried, I tried so hard to make it through this memoir. The writing is beautiful but there's no real sense of structure and at a certain point, it felt hard to navigate the lack of cohesiveness. While I really liked the narrator at certain parts, other times I found her aimlessness frustrating and without purpose. I wanted more of an exploration of her grief as it related to her father's death but at the time of her enrollment in the Israeli Defense Forces, her father had been dead for nearly nine years. It felt strange to use that as a plot point and then not spend much of the memoir discussing her father.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Howard

    Full review coming for Shelf Awareness (who sent me the ARC).

  8. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Smart, insightful writing. I'd like to read more by this author and about her culture. The chapters are a collection of essays arranged roughly chronologically, their stories are not totally sequential and this threw me at first. I got a little impatient with her perpetually immature/unstable nature—so opposite mine—but it resolves. Ultimately worth the read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    David

    3.5 rounded up to 4; weak opening, but it gets better, though her non-fiction prose is not as well crafted as her fiction. Recommended to readers who lost a parent at a tender age, current or former vagabonds, and people who became parents for the first time in middle age.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Holly R W

    "The Art of Leaving" is a book that works on many different levels. It is the author's reflections on her own life, thus far (into her 40's). She writes about growing up in Israel as a Jewish Yemeni. Her life includes having 5 siblings, losing her father at age ten, serving in the Israeli army at 18 and then living several years abroad. The reader comes to know Ayelet as a stubborn, argumentative and independent-minded young woman who has a difficult time with commitment. During her 20's and mid "The Art of Leaving" is a book that works on many different levels. It is the author's reflections on her own life, thus far (into her 40's). She writes about growing up in Israel as a Jewish Yemeni. Her life includes having 5 siblings, losing her father at age ten, serving in the Israeli army at 18 and then living several years abroad. The reader comes to know Ayelet as a stubborn, argumentative and independent-minded young woman who has a difficult time with commitment. During her 20's and mid 30's, questions of self-identity loom large as Ayelet experiments with her sexuality, ethnicity and lifestyle. She is always restless and has perfected "the art of leaving". Unlike many of her friends, she has no interest in establishing a home and roots. Throughout Ayelet's travels and drifting, she always manages to come back to her mother and family in Israel. They may question her choices and not always understand her, but their love for her is a given. As Ayelet gets older, she learns to appreciate her mother more (and fight with her less). Learning to cook her mother's recipes was one of the more delightful chapters for me to read. With time and growing maturity, Ayelet does find stability in her life and is able to settle down. She does this in a way that is genuinely her own. The author writes in English, which is a second language for her. The words and images she uses are beautiful. Her metaphors fit naturally into her writing. They are utterly original and creative. I have featured some quotes from the book at the bottom of my review, so that others can have a taste of her writing. This is a book and author I will not forget. I look forward to future books by her. Additional Note: It's always a pleasure to stumble upon a book that is so beautifully written. This fits the "Beautiful" tag for PBT.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    i don't know how to rate this - i feel like it was a 3/3.5, but i originally put this at a 4. i didn't like the first half very much, and i'm not a huge fan of her writing style. i felt that some of the essays were a little repetitive. as someone who likes a linear storyline, or something that is easy to follow, it was confusing when she kept leaping around to different timelines, reintroducing the same people / time period in slightly different ways, it was sometimes difficult for me to grasp t i don't know how to rate this - i feel like it was a 3/3.5, but i originally put this at a 4. i didn't like the first half very much, and i'm not a huge fan of her writing style. i felt that some of the essays were a little repetitive. as someone who likes a linear storyline, or something that is easy to follow, it was confusing when she kept leaping around to different timelines, reintroducing the same people / time period in slightly different ways, it was sometimes difficult for me to grasp the context of each one. i also don't like redundancy, so it didn't feel like it was a cohesive memoir (vs a collection of essays), but maybe that was the point? to illustrate different pieces of memories and how they are assembled together bit by bit? and some themes just felt like they were hit on over and over again, even though they were different people, it almost all blurred into one (all the different men, etc) and no longer felt new very quickly. but some surprised me, like the one about her assault shocked me. the cultural and historical pieces were interesting and informative, especially as i just went to israel for the first time in january (and have israeli + arab friends) so i understood some (but not all) of this. i think many of the references would have been lost without this experience, which i really only had this year. she seems kind of similar to ariel levy, and the two books were actually a little similar - how they talked about freedom and motherhood at least.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alexis

    This is a really beautiful collection of essays about wandering, being a Yemeni Jew in Israel and abroad, and about growing up as a young woman. Ayelet is a great writer, and I learned a lot from reading this book. As someone who loves to travel and move, I could also relate to her. The details about her childhood in Israel and her years in the Israeli army were also fascinating. I also liked learning about her lifelong desire to become a writer. There was a lot to like about this book. Kudos Ay This is a really beautiful collection of essays about wandering, being a Yemeni Jew in Israel and abroad, and about growing up as a young woman. Ayelet is a great writer, and I learned a lot from reading this book. As someone who loves to travel and move, I could also relate to her. The details about her childhood in Israel and her years in the Israeli army were also fascinating. I also liked learning about her lifelong desire to become a writer. There was a lot to like about this book. Kudos Ayelet!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Janilyn Kocher

    The Art of Leaving is about the author's wanderings. She drifted from her home in Israel to India, to Canada, and back again. I think she was searching for her own story set in the midst of her family history. She lost her father when was only 9 and sort of drifted for a few years. Eventually she settled into a career of writing, began her own family and then chose to commit her family's history to paper. It was an Interesting memoir, although in some parts my attention did wane. Thanks to NetGa The Art of Leaving is about the author's wanderings. She drifted from her home in Israel to India, to Canada, and back again. I think she was searching for her own story set in the midst of her family history. She lost her father when was only 9 and sort of drifted for a few years. Eventually she settled into a career of writing, began her own family and then chose to commit her family's history to paper. It was an Interesting memoir, although in some parts my attention did wane. Thanks to NetGalley for the advance read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa Nelson

    *I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* The Art of Leaving struck me as being a woman version of On the Road, except the Tsabari tells infinitely better stories than Kerouac does, and her story contains a profoundness that I just never found within Kerouac’s work. Tsabari goes in-depth with recounting her life, leaving bare all the struggles and hurts she’s had with her father’s death, the oppression she felt since a small child *I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* The Art of Leaving struck me as being a woman version of On the Road, except the Tsabari tells infinitely better stories than Kerouac does, and her story contains a profoundness that I just never found within Kerouac’s work. Tsabari goes in-depth with recounting her life, leaving bare all the struggles and hurts she’s had with her father’s death, the oppression she felt since a small child living in Israel as a Mizrahi Jewish person, and her endless search for a place where she could stay for longer than a year or two. This book is emotional and is the best type of memoir where you feel as though you’re hanging out with the author, hearing her tell you stories from her life. While some were extremely far from my own field of reference–in which case I enjoyed learning more about how different people live in different places–others were all too relatable and familiar and made me reflect on my own life after reading. One of my favorite moments is when Tsabari is trying to get her grandmother to recount family stories; her grandmother was a fierce, strong woman (much like Tsabari herself). The life stories she shares are gripping, and I am in awe of Tsabari’s whole family for what they’ve gone through and the cheer and contentment they have found for themselves (that includes the author as well)! Aside from the profundity of the stories, the level of humor within the book is what kept me turning those pages. The main difference, really, between Tsabari and Kerouac is that Tsabari is able to take a look at herself and laugh–she doesn’t take herself too seriously, and her recollections about her stubbornness and bold adventures have a hint of laughter to them, which I absolutely loved. This created a nice balance within the narrative itself; a lot of the stories are serious and heartbreaking, but they’re sprinkled in with some fun stories or fun moments, and this creates a wholly realized reflection on life that is so satisfying and readable. This book is everything; it contains complex explorations and thoughts about growing up, becoming an adult, and finding yourself; experiences that anyone can relate to. And it is BEAUTIFULLY written. Tsabari is a rockstar writer, truly. The way she crafts sentences is beyond compare, and there were quite a few times when I just had to pause reading this to soak in the way she conveyed an image or a thought. If you’re at all a fan of memoir, I highly recommend this to you. It’s a wonderful read. Also posted on Purple People Readers.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Coming off of this memoir I can't help but compare it to a recent read in the same genre: DIRTY WARS AND POLISHED SILVER by Lynda Schuster. Schuster was also commitment phobic and traveled the world to outrun a domestic life. (Which they would later overturn in their thirties when both felt a sudden need to procreate.) In Tsabari's case, she was a Yemeni Jew living in Israel. Her first few essays were about her formative years at home, and they spoke in part to her desire to get away. She lost he Coming off of this memoir I can't help but compare it to a recent read in the same genre: DIRTY WARS AND POLISHED SILVER by Lynda Schuster. Schuster was also commitment phobic and traveled the world to outrun a domestic life. (Which they would later overturn in their thirties when both felt a sudden need to procreate.) In Tsabari's case, she was a Yemeni Jew living in Israel. Her first few essays were about her formative years at home, and they spoke in part to her desire to get away. She lost her father to cancer when she was ten, which left a deep impact on her life. She also bucked at the idea of authoritarianism, which isn't exactly the right fit in a country with mandatory military conscription. :P When she got out of the army she traveled the world for several decades. But unlike with Schuster, who predominately took on the role of a war correspondent, Tsabari took odd jobs and drugs and generally disengaged from society. But the way she delved into relationships felt a lot more organic than Schuster's way. A lot of the material in these collected essays were obviously the inspiration for her short stories in BEST PLACE ON EARTH. Overall, I enjoy the short stories better. They had a sense of a completed narrative arc, whereas these interconnected essays were more open-ended. "Yemeni Soup and Other Recipes" was particularly erratic, since the narrative stopped and stalled over memories associated with different food dishes. I still really loved the essays, though. Tsabari is a deeply thoughtful writer, like in "If I Forget You": "I may have had many homes throughout my life, but I only ever had one true *home* home, and it was the security of that house that allowed me to leave over and over again, to drift and be flighty, because I knew I could always come back to it." Or in "Soldiers": "I can't shake the feeling that I liked the idea of Ali more than I liked Ali, and that my contribution to world peace had little to do with the world and more to do with my need for instant gratification. My need for a good story." Or "Kerosene: A Love Story:" "He tried to teach me to be still, how to not spew words senselessly, carelessly. I always talked, covering up for awkward silences or any silence, not being able to tell them apart." "An American Dream" started and ended with Tsaari desperately trying to find the sense of excitement as she entered and exited New York City; maybe the most cyclical essay of the bunch. But the one that affected me the most, certainly because I was also watching "Leaving Neverland," a documentary where two men allege sexual abuse against Michael Jackson, was "A Sleepless Beast." Tsabari's situation is much different; it involves her friend's father coercing her into one night of heavy petting before he backs off. But the way he played his daughter and Tsabari against each other reminded me a bit of the "conditioning" that the documentary described. More broadly, Tsbari's essays touched upon what it is to be an immigrant, a world traveler, and a Mizrahi Jew in Israel. Moving and informative on many levels, I'm glad she wrote it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jade

    I’ve fallen in love with Ayelet Tsabari. In the “I want her to be my best friend because she reminds me of me and therefore would totally get me” kind of way. The Art of Leaving is Ayelet Tsabari’s collection of personal essays, starting around the death of her father when she was 9, and moving on through her two years in the IDF, her extensive travels and life abroad, relationships, love, family: her musings on life in her beautiful voice. I felt like I was coming home when I started this book. I’ve fallen in love with Ayelet Tsabari. In the “I want her to be my best friend because she reminds me of me and therefore would totally get me” kind of way. The Art of Leaving is Ayelet Tsabari’s collection of personal essays, starting around the death of her father when she was 9, and moving on through her two years in the IDF, her extensive travels and life abroad, relationships, love, family: her musings on life in her beautiful voice. I felt like I was coming home when I started this book. The writing is beautiful, full of metaphors, and because I related to so much of it I felt like I was curling up on the couch with a very old friend. The way that Ayelet Tsabari describes the Arava desert and the feelings she gets when arriving in Eilat reminded me of my own; her descriptions of different places in India, of NYC, LA… So much of it felt like home, or at least some place that could have been home for me for a while. Losing one’s father early in life has lifelong effects that shape lives, decisions, and even thoughts. I know because it happened to me too. Obviously my life is not the same as Ayelet Tsabari’s, we grew up in very different places, in different families, different cultures, but there are many places where our lives could have interlocked, ships bumping into each other while crossing oceans. Growing up feeling like I didn’t belong somewhat, immigrant, lost, found, sister, girlfriend, carer, holder of secrets until death… I have been writing essays and poems about my home(s) for so many years, holding them close to my heart, and it was so inspiring to read someone else’s stories of home, of leaving, someone else’s wanderings. I also learned a lot from the author about growing up Mizrahi in Israel. It cleared up some questions I had about certain words/actions/reactions I noticed on and off between employees during my time working on the kibbutz in Israel. It made sense a long time afterwards, but I feel I was very naïve at the time… In any case it makes me happy to read Israel from perspectives and people who are underrepresented. I now need to jump on Ayelet Tsabari’s first publication, The Best Place On Earth, because as I said above, I have fallen in love with her writing and the way she describes her world, our world. Also, I feel terribly homesick now for my home that will never be my home Israel, and for my home that will always be my home NYC. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the advance copy. Thanks to Ayelet Tsabari for the beautiful words, for the inspiration, and for all of the memories that this book drew from my soul.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Anneke

    Book Review: The Art of Leaving Author: Ayelet Tsabari Publisher: Random House Publication Date: February 19, 2019 Review Date: February 8, 2019 I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. From the Amazon blurb: “An intimate memoir in essays by an award-winning Israeli writer who travels the world, from New York to India, searching for love, belonging, and an escape from grief following the death of her father when she was a young girl This searching collection opens with the d Book Review: The Art of Leaving Author: Ayelet Tsabari Publisher: Random House Publication Date: February 19, 2019 Review Date: February 8, 2019 I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. From the Amazon blurb: “An intimate memoir in essays by an award-winning Israeli writer who travels the world, from New York to India, searching for love, belonging, and an escape from grief following the death of her father when she was a young girl This searching collection opens with the death of Ayelet Tsabari’s father when she was just nine years old. His passing left her feeling rootless, devastated, and driven to question her complex identity as an Israeli of Yemeni descent in a country that suppressed and devalued her ancestors’ traditions.” This was a most extraordinary memoir. The story of the writer’s life is intense, deep, fascinating and educational. It is filled with an abundance of beautiful language and imagery. What particularly blew me away is that she wrote the book in English, not her first language. I learned a great deal about Israeli-Yemeni culture. Arab Jews. These non-white, non-European Jews are treated with the same prejudice that is alive the world over. Called the Mizrahi, the Yemeni Jews were/are treated as 2nd-class citizens, in the same way African Americans are treated by the white European culture in the US. The author is stunningly honest; about her journey, her feelings, her search for Home, in response to the devastating death of her father at an early age. For her young adult years she is a traveling vagabond, committed to leaving people before they can leave her first, and be hurt so badly again. She ultimately settles down when she meets her husband Sean, and has her beloved daughter. She is a well-known essayist, who prior to this book, was not on my radar. I could not put her book down, and now having found her, I will search out her other works. Her writing is absolutely brilliant. If you like to read memoir, if you have an interest in Israel, and particularly the Yemeni Israeli history and culture, if you love beautifully written imagery, and biography written with intensity, this book is for you. Highly, highly recommended. 5+ stars! This review will be posted on NetGalley, Goodreads and Amazon. Thank you to Random House for an early look at this magnificent memoir. #netgalley #theartofleaving #randomhouse

  18. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing for gifting me with this book. In exchange for the ARC, I offer my unbiased review. I first heard of Ayelet Tsabari last year, when she was Writer in Residence at the Toronto Reference library. I enjoyed this book, which is a memoir of the author’s life-to-date, from growing up near Tel Aviv, to her travels abroad, to making a home in Toronto. The author has a gift for describing places—whether it’s army barracks, Goan beaches, or the Tel Aviv o Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing for gifting me with this book. In exchange for the ARC, I offer my unbiased review. I first heard of Ayelet Tsabari last year, when she was Writer in Residence at the Toronto Reference library. I enjoyed this book, which is a memoir of the author’s life-to-date, from growing up near Tel Aviv, to her travels abroad, to making a home in Toronto. The author has a gift for describing places—whether it’s army barracks, Goan beaches, or the Tel Aviv of her childhood—and vividly conveyed sense of the Jewish-Yemeni culture. She also uses deliciously apt metaphors, ones that perfectly evoke the thing being described. Take this example from the second page: From there you can see rain-soaked buildings with protruding balconies, their flat white roofs crowded with crooked antennas, water tanks, and gleaming solar panels. Kids sit on window ledges and dangle legs through metal bars, and strings of colorful laundry smile under the windows. My favourite chapters—“In My Dreams We Hug Like Grown-ups Do,” “A Simple Girl”, “You and What Army”, and “Not for the Faint-Hearted”—were the ones about her youth and her family. The stories about her grandmother and great-grandmother are particularly interesting, and I wanted to know more, while at the same time appreciating the way the author acknowledged that there are things you can’t know about the past; that acknowledgement gave the later chapters a sense of poignancy—the sense of unsolvable mysteries that are part of every family history. I loved “You and What Army,” the story of the author’s compulsory 2-year service in the IDF—I wish that chapter could be a whole book. The rest of the book is beautifully written, but in that chapter, the author’s personality really comes out. I laughed out loud at her description of the gate-keeper job and empathized with her feeling of wasting time at something that wasn’t meaningful to her, and I again wanted to know more. The chapter was just so spirited, I wish the rest of the book had had the same spark and humour. Still, I find myself thinking about a lot about this book--it has stayed with me. Overall, I’m really happy to have discovered Ayelet Tsabari and look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

  19. 5 out of 5

    EAM

    Tsabari's memoir is more of a collection of shorter essays that compile into one memoir, but they weave together to tell a beautiful story. Tsabari is a beautiful writer and it is easy to get lost in each of these essays; at times, it feels like you are drawn into each of her memories and that they are your own. This holds true even true for times or geographic locations that are unfamiliar to the reader, which is revealing of the high caliber of writing in this book. As a reader, you feel all o Tsabari's memoir is more of a collection of shorter essays that compile into one memoir, but they weave together to tell a beautiful story. Tsabari is a beautiful writer and it is easy to get lost in each of these essays; at times, it feels like you are drawn into each of her memories and that they are your own. This holds true even true for times or geographic locations that are unfamiliar to the reader, which is revealing of the high caliber of writing in this book. As a reader, you feel all of the emotions of a young girl as she grows into a young woman. You feel the joy, the sadness, the heartbreak and confusion. I was particularly drawn into the details on how Tsabari reacts to other individuals in her life, because this is where I felt the most connection to her life. For example, what it feels like to get together with an old friend who you have lost touch with and haven't seen for awhile. All of the physical details you take in and how you try to analyze their life in the lines on their face or the curve of that person's body. I think these are probably aspects of life that we all can relate to and yet, we don't often take time to dwell on. These details in her memoir are what keep the reader engaged and connected - it almost made me want to keep reading even though I knew it was time for bed. To me, that's the sign of a great book and one that I'm willing to recommend to others. I also appreciated how Tsabari contextualized her experiences within the larger stage of geopolitics in Israel and the Middle East. For those of us less familiar with domestic politics of different populations in Israel, this aspect of the book was informative and helped me to better understand Tsabari's life story. Because this memoir is more of a collection of shorter essays, there are times when the author repeats ideas from prior chapters - this isn't necessarily a problem, but perhaps editors could have taken out some of these redundancies....it's a minor critique. Overall, it's a beautifully written book and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in reading a compelling memoir.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Carla (happiestwhenreading)

    (Thank you, HarperCollins via NetGalley, for the free digital copy to review. All opinions are my own.) To be honest, so much of this book read like a novel; I had to keep reminding myself that this was a memoir! Told in short stories, each chapter can stand alone, yet they ultimately all weave together to tell Tsabari's fuller story. Tsabari is an Jewish-Yemeni whose father suddenly dies when she's 10-years-old. Because of her father's death, she has always felt a sense of displacement in the wor (Thank you, HarperCollins via NetGalley, for the free digital copy to review. All opinions are my own.) To be honest, so much of this book read like a novel; I had to keep reminding myself that this was a memoir! Told in short stories, each chapter can stand alone, yet they ultimately all weave together to tell Tsabari's fuller story. Tsabari is an Jewish-Yemeni whose father suddenly dies when she's 10-years-old. Because of her father's death, she has always felt a sense of displacement in the world. After completing two mandatory years with the Isreal Defense Forces, she leaves her home country and embarks on a journey all around the world - the US, Canada, India, and Europe. While traveling, she continually meditates on themes of grief, home, belonging, and relationships, which later becomes the same themes of this book. Tsabari's writing is lyrical, poetic, and so relatable. Her use of metaphors is perfectly executed, painting a vivid picture in the reader's mind. While her life experiences are not relevant to my personal experiences in any way, her writing made me feel like I had experienced some of these things firsthand. I loved learning about life in Tel Aviv - an area of the world I have little understanding of. I had not previously heard of Tsabari, but I've since learned she a very prolific writer. I'm definitely interested in reading another of her essay collections, THE BEST PLACE ON EARTH: STORIES. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It has stuck with me since I finished it. If you love memoir and themes of displacement and grief, then I'd highly recommend giving this book a shot!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Caren

    "Losing [my father] was the end and the beginning of everything, the cosmic explosion of my little universe. It was the reason I left my home, my family, and my language, and ran away from anything that threatened to tether me down, anything that could break me if it suddenly vanished..." With characteristic honesty, vulnerable Tsabari explores her journey to self-awareness. Her father's death, when she was nine years old, tore apart her budding identity, her connection to her family and its Yem "Losing [my father] was the end and the beginning of everything, the cosmic explosion of my little universe. It was the reason I left my home, my family, and my language, and ran away from anything that threatened to tether me down, anything that could break me if it suddenly vanished..." With characteristic honesty, vulnerable Tsabari explores her journey to self-awareness. Her father's death, when she was nine years old, tore apart her budding identity, her connection to her family and its Yemini culture, and left her struggling through her young adulthood to find where she belonged. This engaging memoir takes readers to the countries she escapes to, through her drug-taking years of trying to numb her sense of loss, and to the relationships she abandons before she herself is abandoned. And, through all her memories, the reader sees through her anger and masks to the sadness that is at her core. Tsabari's insights are meticulously drawn; the reader comes to care about her and about her Yemeni family and its traditions, its history, and the culture that ultimately anchors her to it. These observations were, for me, the most poignant. What emerges from her memoir is the deep pride and respect she rekindles as a Yemeni-Israeli author, wherever she lives (in America, in Canada), especially her commitment to creating space for that distinct voice among a largely Ashkenazi literary tradition.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    The entire time I was reading this memoir I could not stop thinking, “Wow!” Wow because Ayelet Tsabari has succeeded in capturing so many sights and smells that are familiar to me but also many experiences that are completely foreign. These beautifully-crafted essays take us on a journey that begins when she is nine, grief-stricken over her father’s death, through her youth in Israel and post-army travels to the United States, Canada, India, and Thailand, and finally back to Israel. The trauma o The entire time I was reading this memoir I could not stop thinking, “Wow!” Wow because Ayelet Tsabari has succeeded in capturing so many sights and smells that are familiar to me but also many experiences that are completely foreign. These beautifully-crafted essays take us on a journey that begins when she is nine, grief-stricken over her father’s death, through her youth in Israel and post-army travels to the United States, Canada, India, and Thailand, and finally back to Israel. The trauma of her father’s death seems to follow her to all these places and while she remains close with her family much of her 20s and 30s are spent apart from them, on opposite sides of the ocean. She toys with the traditional notion of “home” – “Home was transient, constantly shifting. Home, essentially, was the act of leaving –not a physical place, but the pattern of walking away from it,” she writes in the essay “If I Forget You.” Ultimately, she concludes that home is both where her family is, but also collecting stories. “Home is the page. The one place I always, always come back to.” As a reader, I’m so glad she does always come back to the page. Each essay is exquisite, and it’s a tribute to Tsabari’s talent that English is not her first language. I finished this volume very quickly, hungry for more of Tsabari’s words and wisdom.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mindy

    There is so much about this book that I like---the stories of her Yemenite Jewish ancestors, her feelings of not belonging, her childhood memories---and then there are the parts which almost made me put down the book in the middle, the obsession with her drugged-up '20's and the need to tell us about every person she ever slept with on her journeys in India, Thailand, etc.; her misbehavior in the Israeli army, the general narcissism of a writer who is always writing about herself. But in some wa There is so much about this book that I like---the stories of her Yemenite Jewish ancestors, her feelings of not belonging, her childhood memories---and then there are the parts which almost made me put down the book in the middle, the obsession with her drugged-up '20's and the need to tell us about every person she ever slept with on her journeys in India, Thailand, etc.; her misbehavior in the Israeli army, the general narcissism of a writer who is always writing about herself. But in some ways she's a fascinating writer, and yet I don't really come to like her (why should she care? I still bought and read the book!). I think her current "partner" (husband) must have asked her not to write too much about him, because she writes in very little detail about him, unlike the oversharing about all her previous boyfriends. There are certain people to whom I'd recommend the book, but not generally. If you want to know about Yemenite Jews in Israel, about a young woman who loses her father at such a young age and never really recovers from that tragic event, a person always "in exile", then read Ayelet Tsabari. In certain ways, the book reminds me of Adichie's AMERICANAH (sp?), which was beloved by so many, but which I found annoying in many ways.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Sokoloff

    On this International Women’s Day, I will pay homage to two women of Mizrahi descent. I just completed The Art of Leaving by Ayelet Tsabari and i feel both she, and Ofra Haza, who she writes about in her memoir, are truly worthy of recognition on this day. Thank you Ayelet for exposing the circumstances of your youth growing up in Israel 🇮🇱 during a time when being Mizrahi was certainly challenging. On top of that, losing a parent (dad), dad just before her 10th birthday, complicated life for Ay On this International Women’s Day, I will pay homage to two women of Mizrahi descent. I just completed The Art of Leaving by Ayelet Tsabari and i feel both she, and Ofra Haza, who she writes about in her memoir, are truly worthy of recognition on this day. Thank you Ayelet for exposing the circumstances of your youth growing up in Israel 🇮🇱 during a time when being Mizrahi was certainly challenging. On top of that, losing a parent (dad), dad just before her 10th birthday, complicated life for Ayelet, another degree. Hats off to Ayelet’s mom, who was then faced to raise 6 children alone. Yemeni 🇾🇪 women are no strangers to struggle. It took a long time and many demons, but Ayelet, has grown into her Yemen identity, has 2 successful English books, and a family of her own. On a sadder note, Ofra Haza’s life, although she was, at one time, a rising star in Hollywood from her modest origins of the suburbs of Tel-Aviv, her’s was a life cut short. From Eurovision, to multi million selling albums, to the screen in Hollywood where she provided the voice of Moses’ mother in The Prince of Egypt 🇪🇬, Ofra Haza was unstoppable. Only AIDS stopped her. RIP #ofrahaza.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    After reading Ayelet Tsabari's The Best Place on Earth, I knew I needed to read The Art of Leaving. Early in her Memoir she writes about her father: That moment crystallized in my memory through the fog of grief, will be the fork in the road where my future splits in two what could have happened had he lived and what happened because he didn't. It is at this point that you will read about a child's grief that will follow her into womanhood. With gut wrenching honesty she will describe her life, g After reading Ayelet Tsabari's The Best Place on Earth, I knew I needed to read The Art of Leaving. Early in her Memoir she writes about her father: That moment crystallized in my memory through the fog of grief, will be the fork in the road where my future splits in two what could have happened had he lived and what happened because he didn't. It is at this point that you will read about a child's grief that will follow her into womanhood. With gut wrenching honesty she will describe her life, growing as a teen, army experiences, living in various countries, relationships, experimenting and using drugs. This is a must read for anybody who has lost somebody and cannot feel whole again. It is also a story of a woman coming into her own finding the relationship she was afraid to admit she always craved and experiencing motherhood. In the end completing her destiny of becoming a writer. If I have one small criticism at times the book be came a little long, part of her story was the foods of her cultures. Which while interesting at times took me away from the emotion of her Memior, but this was her story and she was very brave in telling it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Is there a difference between a memoir and a series of autobiographical essays? For me, a memoir has a cohesive feel because it usually explores one aspect of a person’s life, even if the events occur over decades. Essays speak about a person’s life experiences, but focus on different events without necessarily offering a coherent picture of the person. The reason for this question is the subtitle of Ayelet Tsabari’s “The Art of Leaving: A Memoir” (Random House), which felt misleading. Tsabari’s Is there a difference between a memoir and a series of autobiographical essays? For me, a memoir has a cohesive feel because it usually explores one aspect of a person’s life, even if the events occur over decades. Essays speak about a person’s life experiences, but focus on different events without necessarily offering a coherent picture of the person. The reason for this question is the subtitle of Ayelet Tsabari’s “The Art of Leaving: A Memoir” (Random House), which felt misleading. Tsabari’s book does not read like a traditional memoir, but rather a series of essays, each of which could stand on its own. That’s not a complaint about the writing. In addition to being well written and absorbing, the essays offer a glimpse into a world with which I was not familiar and several adventures I would never want to experience. That also makes them intriguing, even when the author’s behavior is off putting. Read the rest of my review at http://www.thereportergroup.org/Artic...

  27. 4 out of 5

    Danella Yaptinchay

    When I first started the book, it seemed slow and sad — I almost wanted to stop reading it. But the emotional slope actually turned out to be like the creeping climb up the first crest of a rollercoaster, after which you reach the top and get taken on a speeding ride of crazy loops, twists and turns. And when you finally reach the end of the ride, you are calm and hopeful and never the same. Ayalet Tsabari’s writing has some sort of mystical effect on time and space. She is able to command the p When I first started the book, it seemed slow and sad — I almost wanted to stop reading it. But the emotional slope actually turned out to be like the creeping climb up the first crest of a rollercoaster, after which you reach the top and get taken on a speeding ride of crazy loops, twists and turns. And when you finally reach the end of the ride, you are calm and hopeful and never the same. Ayalet Tsabari’s writing has some sort of mystical effect on time and space. She is able to command the pace of reading in a special way as she relays story after story. Some parts of her life unfold quickly while others stretch out in what seems like an eternity. Her self-reflection is raw and relatable, her search for herself very close to home. This book is magnificently human and universal: honest, proud and humble. Definitely worth the read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alena O

    Written as a series of interwoven essays, The Art of Leaving, provides a spectacular, and at times, uncomfortable insight into Ayelet Tsabari’s quest to find her place in the world, both as a Yemeni-Jew and a young woman reeling from the loss of her father. The prose had me grabbing my pen, wanting to capture the eloquence of her visual imagery: “the city slithers through the shutters,” and “summer shoves the short-lived spring out of its way, drapes over the city viscous and stifling.” There wer Written as a series of interwoven essays, The Art of Leaving, provides a spectacular, and at times, uncomfortable insight into Ayelet Tsabari’s quest to find her place in the world, both as a Yemeni-Jew and a young woman reeling from the loss of her father. The prose had me grabbing my pen, wanting to capture the eloquence of her visual imagery: “the city slithers through the shutters,” and “summer shoves the short-lived spring out of its way, drapes over the city viscous and stifling.” There were times when I wanted to shake her and get her to just grow up and reach the potential that she clearly had, and there were times when her pain was so evident that I wanted to cry for her. I read the book in two sittings - recommendation enough!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rena Graham

    After reading Ayelet Tsabari's first book, I was anxious to see what her memoir would be like. I loved this, but in a different way. The Best Place on Earth seemed to have more edge and less self-consciousness to the writing but they are both beautifully written. The Best Place on Earth was fiction though and that makes a difference. There is a softer quality to her writing here, written from a more mature woman who has since married and had a child. I loved her settings and use of metaphor. Tel After reading Ayelet Tsabari's first book, I was anxious to see what her memoir would be like. I loved this, but in a different way. The Best Place on Earth seemed to have more edge and less self-consciousness to the writing but they are both beautifully written. The Best Place on Earth was fiction though and that makes a difference. There is a softer quality to her writing here, written from a more mature woman who has since married and had a child. I loved her settings and use of metaphor. Tel Aviv is a place I feel I've visited, and I understand why she would move back there. I'm happy to follow her writing career and wish her many more successes.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Elissa

    Ayelet is unflinching in her self analysis, gifted with context, and constantly asking what it looks like to love. I really enjoyed this memoir--the sticky moments of doubt, the journey toward self awareness, the hazy years of muting everything. Ayelet acknowledges all her dimensions, and gets caught in judgement as often as not. Defining what home and family mean to her has been the work of a lifetime, and she shares such vulnerability through this work. She doesn't shy away from complexity--wh Ayelet is unflinching in her self analysis, gifted with context, and constantly asking what it looks like to love. I really enjoyed this memoir--the sticky moments of doubt, the journey toward self awareness, the hazy years of muting everything. Ayelet acknowledges all her dimensions, and gets caught in judgement as often as not. Defining what home and family mean to her has been the work of a lifetime, and she shares such vulnerability through this work. She doesn't shy away from complexity--whether her own inner turmoil or the tapestry of her culture as an Israeli of Yemeni decent.

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