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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Dovekeepers

There is only one ancient source on the story of the Jewish Uprising culminating in the stand at the fortress of Masada. Its veracity has been questioned by recent archaeological evidence. Still the story, whether entirely true or not, is an inspiring one. Novelist Alice Hoffman in The Dovekeepers tells the story from a feminist perspective. Hoffman is a prolific author whose books are both widely loved and frequently damned. Mix feminism with frequent doses of mysticism and controversy may be the result.
The Dovekeepers follows four very different women from the second destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem to the final suicide at the fortress of Masada. There a disparate group of men and women chose death over slavery. Strong stuff indeed. ( A view across the desert of the Dead Sea from the fortress of Masada).

I found the book a little too  long at points. This is because some the points of the beautifully evocative writing are repeated to often, losing their power in the process. Also because  mixing in  dreams, visions and confusing allusions doesn’t always  work for me.  Still  much else about this novel is very good, from the characterizations to the contrast between the shabby, hungry refugees and the magnificence of Herod's abandoned palace at Masada. All in all though I think this book is  well worth reading.....


Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

This is a well written review. Not sure this is a book for me right now, but it does sound interesting.

donna baker said...

I enjoyed the book. Learned some things too. I love Alice Hoffman.

Anonymous said...

Following four people while they're witnessing a legend. That sounds pretty interesting. I guess the beauty of history too is leaving out all the uninteresting parts like cleaning up after the cattle or 'The village was surrounded by mile after mile of nothing but corn fields and bugs.'

I agree though nice review.

Valerie said...

I like Alice Hoffman, although I've only read a couple of her books. Haven't come across this one but I'm not sure I would be able to handle it.... the story, I mean.

Dee said...

Dear Troutbirder, thanks for letting us know about this book. This is the first time I've heard about it.

I have a manuscript ready for self-publication in August that takes place in first century CE Palestine and concerns a Pharisee and his wife. It's will be called "the Reluctant Spy" and Rome plays a part in it. Also dreams.

So it's good for me to read what other writers write--now that I have the manuscript finished. A lot of research goes into a manuscript like this and I suspect that Alice Hoffman is a master at that. What I mean is that the research isn't supposed to stick out like a sore thumb. It must be woven carefully into the narrative and not interrupt the flow by proclaiming, "Hey, look at me, I'm research!"


Ien in the Kootenays said...

I am never quite sure how I feel about Alice Hoffman. Your comments hit the nail on the head. Also, I dislike martyrdom and fanaticism. Even so, this sounds interesting. Thanks, will keep an eye out.