The People of Forever Are Not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu
A Novel

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But for me, the narrative feels more like a succession of vignettes – it isn't strong enough to make me care about the characters, or carry the book through to its end.
-Guardian

Synopsis

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.

 

About Shani Boianjiu

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SHANI BOIANJIU was born in Jerusalem in 1987. She served in the Israeli Defense Forces for two years. Her fiction has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Zoetrope, and Vice. Shani is the youngest recipient ever of the National Book Foundation's 5 under 35, and The People of Forever Are Not Afraid is her first novel. She lives in Israel.
 
Published September 11, 2012 by Hogarth. 370 pages
Genres: War, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The People of Forever Are Not Afraid
All: 4 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 2

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Rachel Shabi on Mar 29 2013

But for me, the narrative feels more like a succession of vignettes – it isn't strong enough to make me care about the characters, or carry the book through to its end.

Read Full Review of The People of Forever Are Not... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Anita Sethi on Mar 03 2013

The girls are often lost for words, but the author successfully finds a voice to express the dehumanising horror of warfare in this fragmented plot held together with a passionate, poetic eloquence.

Read Full Review of The People of Forever Are Not... | See more reviews from Guardian

NPR

Below average
Reviewed by Alan Cheuse on Sep 21 2012

I'd really looked forward to this book and hoped for a lot more.

Read Full Review of The People of Forever Are Not... | See more reviews from NPR

NPR

Above average
Reviewed by Alan Cheuse on Sep 18 2012

The frankness in the novel is refreshing, the episodic nature of its progress I found wanting.

Read Full Review of The People of Forever Are Not... | See more reviews from NPR

Reader Rating for The People of Forever Are Not Afraid
54%

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