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There is no period in human history when people didn’t fight in some way or another. People fight for land, for freedom, for food, for money, and sometimes for no reason other than thirst for power. From slavery to murder, all kinds of oppression and injustice have been done. Innocent people have spent their lives in prisons and exile while perpetrators sat on thrones. Slaves have built pyramids and economies while offenders lived in mansions. Entire generations fled their countries and became unwanted refugees while occupants lived in their homes, ate their food, and slept in their beds… Jerusalem Spring is no stranger to humans nor to history. It tells the story of people who live, love, fight, and struggle during a more modern period of history. When you start reading the book, you wonder at first what is happening and whether you misread the title of the book. Then, it hits you like a slap on the face. You get it, and you start looking at the characters from a new perspective. You really see them for the first time.
The characters in this book are real ordinary people who live in any town on any street. They are molds of people who could fit any person who experienced similar situations. Their physical traits and their names are not important because their stories define them. Everybody is represented in this story, the victims, the people in power and the peace keepers. Fares Aoun does an excellent job making his characters alive. They have their secrets, their dreams and their daemons. They are weak yet they draw their strength from their weakness. He makes them grow and mature as the story evolves. He believes in them and in their cause. He is there with them in their cells and in their bedrooms, holding a tin of water to their lips or wiping tears from their faces. He is there to assure them that the world will hear their pleading. He simply takes ordinary people from everyday life and makes them eternal.
The book gets you hooked from the first line. It jumps immediately into action and makes you wonder what is going to happen next. The suspense builds up with every page. You feel anxious for your heroes. You start predicting all kinds of heroic and majestic endings until the story brings you back to its purpose, and shows you how real life treats real people. It makes you wonder how many more books it will take to tell the story of a great people that spent most of its existence suffocating under the siege, under the bombs, and under oppression…
Nidale El Achkar
I’d love to see it in movie theaters soon.
the comparison is so smart.
I love it
I would say that this novel is amazing, but that would be a gross understatment.
After reading the description on the back of the book, I was quite puzzled, what with the book’s title, and description, in my oppinion, not adding up. I proceeded to read the first part of the story, and after finishing the part, I still felt a sense of confusion, yet this feeling was offset by the pleasant emotions associated with the book’s tale. I was deeply intrigued by the relationship’s between the main characters, and looked forward to seeing how it would all play out. However, the book wasn’t what I expected, and the 1960’s segregation topic hadn’t really captured my attention.
By the end of the book, I was amazed. Such a beautiful contrast and parallel was drawn, one that noone could have expected, but one that everyone would appreciate. My confusion was increased after the first few pages of the second part were read, but all too soon did the connection appear to me. Seeing the same exact character’s lives being played out in the second part, but in a complete new light, was fascinating.
I don’t want to write anymore, for I am afraid that I might give something worth reading individually away. I commend the author for writing such a masterpeice, and I encourage him to bless us with another novel.
It’s an amazing easy read book yet very deep in meanings! Once you start reading it , it’s very hard to put it down, very engaging! It applies to any generation, anywhere anytime.
Jerusalem Spring “have a heart” screaming for peace and justice. It’s every mother , father, son , daughter, young or old person who suffered during their life !!
Job very well done..
I absolutely love it!
The best book I have read in a very long time! The analogy is incredible…allows us to understand and appreciate what is truly going on in that side of the world, and not what the media would like us to believe. Definitely an eye-opener. As I was reading the book, I could it see the story playing in front of my eyes…it would surely make a great movie.
It is unbelievable that in this day and time, such segregation and injustice is still allowed to go on.
Let us hope and pray that one day, the harsh cold winter will be replaced by the peaceful song of birds and beautiful sight of flowers blooming in greener pastures!
I love when writers decide to use fiction to tell an opinion or express concern about some situation. Fares Aoun has created a powerful, brilliantly conceived method and story to do just that. I applaud this work and consider it a must-read, especially given I read the book from front to back in one sitting. The impact for me was dramatic; I hope the impact for some will be enlightening…
It is the 1960s and somewhere in the south, readers find themselves inside a segregated prison. A new group is coming in and we see how the all-white guards treat the new prisoners. There are two who are highlighted; one is very young and has been hurt somewhere and is in bad shape. Another who was on the bus is helping him. The identity of these individuals is “13,” and “12,” the latter.
Immediately trouble begins because 12 was trying to get somebody to help 13. There would be no doctor tonight, but the warden, at least, ordered that 13 be given food that night. He never received any from the guards. After the mandatory shower, etc., the guards literally pushed them forward into a room at which other prisoners stood at the bars and quickly closed the door. They werwere in a large, long hallway; the prison was extremely overcrowded and though the warden kept insisting that no further men be sent there, nothing changed.
Needing to know his present situation, 12 immediately started to look and walk around and when no food came, he tried to find somebody to help 13.
Finally, he came upon one man in a cell–all the doors were kept open so the crowded group could at least move around, but the toilets were broken and the smell horrendous.
Joe was alone in his cell with stacks and stacks of books. Everybody knew that he was this warden’s inside man, but at least he got one slice of bread for 13.
The warden and his wife were both individuals who did not discriminate nor feel differently about those of other races. His wife wanted to leave the south and go somewhere else and start a family because of the tense racial situation. Unknown to his wife, the warden had already started the transfer process months ago; but he didn’t want to raise her hopes. The warden was a good man most of the time; he hated what he sometimes had to become in order to do his job. But when a fire, and then a kitchen riot erupted, he became who he felt he had to be to do his job. And then hated his actions because they were similar to his father’s…
Even Joe was surprised at how the warden was treating those who had been caught in the riot, even if they personally hadn’t been the instigators. For Joe and the warden had become at least cordial and the warden got Joe his books and was even discussing his taking college courses…
Readers may stumble just as Part II begins in present time but will quickly continue on.
Because, actually, the same story continues! Yes, there are a few slight changes–Joe is now called Yusef. The prison becomes a “camp” of people. Scott is still waiting to transfer…
From the author (p. 223, Acknowledgments) “My mom raised us to treat others the way we would want to be treated. My Dad taught us to tell the truth and stand up for the weak.” From the Dedication–…this book [is dedicated] to my children and to every child throughout the world with the hope that we adults will give them a better place to live.
I pray with that hope too… If you also have hope…read this book and share it. I’m also hoping the author’s next book runs along similar lines! Can there ever be a happy ending? I have a feeling this author has much to say to the world…and I want to read it!
Book Received Via
G. A. Bixler
This is a very thought provoking book. It had my attention from the first page and kept it throughtout the book. I couldn’t wait to finish it to see how things turned out. Everyone who reads Jerusalem Spring will get something out of it, whether they are from the deep south (USA), or Leabanon or anywhere worldwide.
Jerusalem Spring makes you think about yourself and what you have done or not done over the years. Did you or do you allow prejudice to have a presence in your life? What can you do to make people realize the good in all people? Don’t allow hate to control and destroy your life and those of your family and friends. This book helps you to see the other side.
I would strongly recommend the book to anyone.
Reading this story made me think. The story begins in the 1960’s in a prison that houses blacks. Segregation was alive and well in that era. The warden was white…
The author sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you.) It is available on Amazon.com and at https://www.createspace.com/3497923. It is also available on the Kindle, Nook, and other e-readers.
Mr. Aoun bases his story on four main characters. The warden, the longtime prisoner and informant, and two new prisoners. There is an odd chemistry between the warden and the informant. They have a fragile friendship, the warden gives him books to read, they enjoy their conversations, and the information trades information for cigarettes – which is commerce in the pen. But the issue of black and white and trust still stands between them.
The story is interesting and the author’s insights regarding this type of conflict make it a fascinating read.
The last third of the book has an interesting juxtaposition presented. The author moves the story from the prison to another “prison” of sorts. You are suddenly in Israel with the same characters and the same story line. While this sounds strange, it actually makes a lot of sense. There is still segregation and cultural unrest, and the prisoners still want their freedom. The comparison of times and places holds up under scrutiny.
This was a very interesting read. Check with your local bookstore for a copy.
It’s a brilliant book. I loved the friendship story built between two men of different backgrounds, knowing that the entire situation could have made such a friendship impossible. It was very real to me because the struggle they were living through due to the circumstances made them sometimes betray each other in some ways. But the…ir friendship won out at the end. The story gives awareness of some important issues that in our lives we often don’t consider or forget to consider, also to the prejudices we have in some communities where we tend to generalize. What I loved even more is the transition to Part Two. It was very intelligent and thought-provoking. Unlike some readers who found the story too tragic, I found it realistic, maybe because I live in an environment with so many injustices making up everyday life. I congratulate the author, and I’ll be waiting for his next book.
I know that Fares Aoun is full of hope. Like the pulp floating in freshly squeezed orange juice, the slightest jostle against his words reveals the hope palpable in his story.
I want to hope like he does, but the very structure of his novel, Jerusalem Spring, makes that hope difficult, if not impossible. I should probably mention that, quite by mistake, I read Angela Y. Davis’ Are Prisons Obsolete? in conjunction with Jerusalem Spring, so what little hope I could have had was erased by the book that became Jerusalem Spring’s unfortunate companion. But Aoun himself must take some of the credit for my hopelessness as I closed his book because the structure of Jerusalem Spring — wherein the same tale plays out in two lands separated by fifty years and thousands of miles — suggests hopelessness.
It tells us that nothing changes, not really, and that if any change does occur the same thing is happening somewhere else, somefuture else. Our nasty, racist, human behaviour plays itself out over and over and over again.
I don’t think Aoun wants us to leave with that feeling, though. I think he wants us to look at the horrific imprisonment of black men in 60s USA, look at Obama in the White House, and say, “See, change is not just possible it’s inevitable!” I think he wants us to believe that if we behave like Gandhi or Jesus Christ or Martin Luther King Jr. — even if we are of a people under attack by the powers that be — change will happen, and the hearts and minds of our enemies will change forever and for the better.
It is lovely to believe in and hope for. It is something I wish I could believe in and hope for. And Fares Aoun’s expression of his beliefs and hopes is rather beautiful. But I don’t think change can come about the way he believes it can, and I know that the changes we’ve seen are too slow, and they’re never enough.
Fares Aoun believes that there are innocent people in the world. I do not. Aoun believes that education will out. I do not. But I’ll say it again: I wish I did. And for that part of me that is full of Aoun’s wishes, for that part of me that wants to believe and hope, this book was a balm.
I wish I could believe it. I know many who can and will, and for those of you who still feel that hope, please take the time to read Jerusalem Spring. It deserves an audience.
The title “Jerusalem Spring” not only caught my eye but also captured my heart instantly even before reading the novel. I am very grateful for Fares writing such a meaningful story that can reach the readers’ hearts and genuinely force them to think more about the after-effects of Israel’s aggression against the civilian population and now the forgotten refugees in Jerusalem.
I loved Fares’s style in determining main ideas for the readers to recognise the similarities between part 1 and part 2. The fluidity of the story into part 2 makes the reader view the meaning of humanity in another dimension.
I greatly appreciated the way the story’s primary purpose helped the reader realize that education is the key to start recovering and rebuilding the shattered society of Jerusalem’s refugees. Education heals the world as well as the mind of humans. Wonderful novel and great message to send to the world!
I like it when an author highlights an issue and makes it very clear to the reader. The book is set in the 1960’s, the reader finds him/herself viewing a segregated prison. Two prisoners, numbers 13 and 12, have just been brought in with a group of new prisoners. The prisoners are overcrowded, the new prisoners, 13 and 12, never receive the food they are promised.
The warden and his wife, two people one might think the author would decide to make “mean characters”, are actua…moreI like it when an author highlights an issue and makes it very clear to the reader. The book is set in the 1960’s, the reader finds him/herself viewing a segregated prison. Two prisoners, numbers 13 and 12, have just been brought in with a group of new prisoners. The prisoners are overcrowded, the new prisoners, 13 and 12, never receive the food they are promised.
The warden and his wife, two people one might think the author would decide to make “mean characters”, are actually the opposite. The wife and warden treat everyone the same regardless of race. The wife wants to leave the South permanently, unbeknownst to her the husband has already started this process. The warden is a bit of a softie, but he “reigns himself in” after a fire and kitchen fight break out. I was surprised that the previously peaceful warden treated the prisoners who were not the instigators so harshly. Joe, an inmate who receives books and even discusses possible college courses with the warden, is shocked as well. The story continues with further development of the characters and the plot.
The author is attempting to draw a parallel between the racial situation in the 1960’s South and the current situation in the Middle East with the Palestinians. The writing is a little uneven and I had a hard time transitioning from the first part to the second (I think it was the same characters who confused me). This book left me with a lot of questions and the intense desire to research the situation (I knew a little about already) on the Internet. I think this is a wonderful read and would recommend it to young adults/adults alike. The meaning is crystal clear and the author does a great job portraying the situation in the Middle East with the Palestinians.
Great book with a great message. The author tried to tackle a very complex issue with a familiar and engaging plot that captures the reader’s interest from start to finish. It is very difficult putting this book down once you turn the first page. I recommend it to anyone who cares about issues of human rights and human dignity, and how all human societies and their destinies are interconnected. This book also reminds us that, as Americans, we can simply look at our own history to understand the struggles of other people around the globe.
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