I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
Author Nora Houri-Haim takes readers on a journey exploring the history, culture, and modern story of Iraqi Jews through a multi-generational fictional novel in the book “Cover Me With My Izar”.
Through a series of stories that span several generations, ‘Cover Me with My Izar’, brings to vivid life the modern history of Iraqi Jews.
The stories are fascinating, humorous, filled with humanity, always captivating, and brimming with heart. Each story is told from the viewpoint of a different character across the generations.
From the tales of the vibrant Jewish community in Baghdad, through the terrors of the Farhud Pogrom to the mass immigration into Israel, a rich story of struggle and learning to adapt unfolds.
From the miracle that was visited upon the barren Latifa, to the disaster Ezra, the sword collector, brought on his own head; from Yvette, who decided to go and earn an education for herself against all odds, to the story of Itzik and Nava, children of the third generation born in Israel who wanted to be integrated into its newly forming society. These are just a handful of the rich tapestry of stories woven together to form the fabric of this book. A fabric as unforgettable and rich as that from which the traditional Izar gown, worn by the Jewish women of Iraq, is made.
This was such a well-written and personal story. The author expertly found the balance between personal storytelling about family experiences and intimate looks into the culture and history surrounding the Jewish people of the Middle East over the last century. The way this story fell into an almost compilation of short stories that fell under a general story banner that connected to one another through the generations was such an inspired use of storytelling devices. The imagery and atmosphere were so vivid that the stories the author was bringing to life felt very real, allowing readers to feel quite connected to the narrative.
The blend of character development and culture really became the heart of this narrative. The exploration of several characters and their point of view over the course of an entire family’s history over the course of a century was an inspired creative choice and played well into the narrative choice to explore the Middle Eastern Jewish experience. It was original and allowed readers to fully feel immersed into an aspect and point of view of life that is rarely explored.
Brilliantly written, captivating, and engaging, author Nora Houri-Haim’s “Cover Me With My Izar” is a must-read family and multi-generational fiction novel of 2022. The unique setting and history the author explores in this narrative were so amazing to behold, and the rich cultural explorations were truly entertaining and emotionally driven, keeping readers invested throughout the narrative. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!
About the Author
Nora Houri-Haim was born in 1953 in the “new, old” city of Tel Aviv, to parents who’d made aliyah from Iraq. She spent her childhood surrounded by her huge extended family and grew up on the knees of her aunts and uncles, listening to stories from the “old country.” These stories were in sharp contrast to the reality around Nora. In the fledgling state of Israel, anything foreign, and especially anything connected to the Arab world, was frowned upon. This dissonance defined Nora’s childhood and inspired her writing as an adult. She finished her schooling in Tel Aviv, and then served in the Israeli military as an educational adviser. After completing her BA, Nora got married, had four kids and spent eight years teaching 6-8th graders. Nora completed her MA, with honors in Literature and Creative Writing from Ben Gurion University in the Negev. While there, she began writing her first novel, Cover Me with my Izar”. The novel was nominated by her publisher for the Sapir Prize for debut novels and was praised by the National Library during the year it was published.