Sadness Is a White Bird: A Novel

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[June 2018]: SADNESS IS A WHITE BIRD has been longlisted for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize. Full list and more details here.


Other Lists:

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Goodreads’ “24 of the Season’s Highest-Rated Debuts” |Jewish Book Council’s10 Books to Look Forward To in 2018″ | Bustle’s19 Debut Novels Coming Out in 2018 That You Definitely Won’t Want to Miss” | Huffington Post’s60 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018” | Working Mother’s 10 of the Most Anticipated Books to Make Time for in 2018″ | PureWow’s 20 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018” | Book Riot’s101 Books Coming Out in 2018 That You Should Mark Down Now” | BookBub’s 25 Debut Novels We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018” | POPSUGAR’s20 Best New Books to Read in February” | The Nerd Daily’s Books to Look Forward to in 2018” | San Diego Magazine’s 5 Books to Read in February” | The Jewish Daily Forward’sTo Read, To Watch and To Do This Weekend” (Feb 15) | The New York Post’sThis Week’s Must-Read Books” (Feb 24) | The Washington Post’s We Missed These Books – But You Shouldn’t” |


Interviews, Excerpts and Essays:

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The Paris Review | “Writing Fiction in the Shadow of Jerusalem.” (Jan 18, 2018). Read Here.

ABC News | “Israeli-American Novelist Laments Gaza Deaths, Sees Hope in Resistance.” (By Evan McMurry, May 22, 2018). Read Here.

Jewish Currents | “Hitchhikers” (An Excerpt from Sadness Is a White Bird, May 22, 2018). Read Here.

Haaretz | “Conscientious Objector Puts Himself in an Israeli Soldier’s Books in New Book” (By Andrew Esensten, Feb 13, 2018). Read Here.

Jewish Book Council | Interview: Moriel Rothman-Zecher (By Ranen Omer-Sherman, March 20, 2018): Read Here.

Electric Literature | “5 Book Pairings to Help You Understand Historical Conflicts” (Feb 15, 2018). Read Here.

Kirkus Reviews | Interview with Moriel Rothman-Zecher (By James McDonald, Feb 15, 2018). Read Here.

The Prosen People | “On Poetry Swallowed by Prose.” (Feb 13, 2018). Read Here.

Shelf Awareness | “Reading With… Moriel Rothman-Zecher.” (March 2, 2018). Read Here.

WYSO Public Radio | Interview: Book Nook, with Vick Mikunas. (March 29, 2018). Listen Here.


Praise for Sadness Is a White Bird:

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“A passionate, poetic coming-of-age story set in a mine field, brilliantly capturing the intensity of feeling on both sides of the conflict.”–Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Nuanced, sharp, and beautifully written, Sadness Is a White Bird manages, with seeming effortlessness, to find something fresh and surprising and poignant in the classic coming-of-age, love-triangle narrative, something starker, more heartbreaking: something new.” —Michael Chabon, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER & CLAY

“While offering an unusually political coming-of-age novel, Rothman-Zecher frames the conflict in human terms. Passionate, topical, and thoughtful, this heartbreaking tale is vital reading for anyone who cares about the future of this part of the world.” –Library Journal (starred review)

“Rarely does one come across a debut novel as artistically accomplished, politically unsettling, and emotionally unflinching as Moriel Rothman-Zecher’s Sadness Is a White Bird.” —Ranen Omer-Sherman, Jewish Book Council

“I loved Sadness Is a White Bird for its profound meditation on how we each strive to hold ourselves morally and politically to account, an individual resistance to a world of walls and violence, in defiance of the belief that ‘Each man has limited space in his heart, for sadness and for sorrow and for regret.’” —Madeleine Thien, author of the Man Booker Prize Finalist DO NOT SAY WE HAVE NOTHING

“[An] outstanding debut… Rothman-Zecher has an unusual way with words, giving lovely, fresh descriptions of desire, violence, and injustice.” —Publishers Weekly

“In a sense, one must travel to Palestine in order to experience the grief and the rage of life under occupation. What can go too often ignored is the complexity and the humanity: the love, lies, lust alive in the same. Rothman-Zecher’s brilliant debut eschews political polemic in favor of nuanced narrative, giving us a love triangle to rival Bertolucci’s The Dreamers, set against the backdrop of the most heartbreaking conflict of our time. Intelligent, sexy, dazzlingly beautiful—no less for being utterly heartwrenching.”  —Taiye Selasi, author of GHANA MUST GO.

“A lyrical debut by a rising literary star… informed by author Moriel Rothman-Zecher’s background in Arabic literature and social activism, both of which add passion and integrity to the story, Sadness Is a White Bird is part coming-of-age tale and part unblinking observation of a political situation that continues to defy solutions, treaties or agreements.” —BookPage

“Unflinching in its honesty, unyielding in its moral complexity, Sadness Is a White Bird offers thoroughly original insights into the holy and the broken place that is modern Israel. Moriel Rothman-Zecher is a piercing observer and a relentless interrogator who peels back layers of pain to lay bare the difficult truths of his homeland, and the heavy price paid by those for whom love trumps hatred.” —Geraldine Brooks, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel MARCH

“This debut novel from Rothman-Zecher will pull on your heartstrings from beginning to end.” —Working Mother

“Rothman-Zecher, who refused to serve in the Israeli army, addresses complex, urgent issues through his vital and memorable characters.” —Booklist

“An amazingly engaging peek at that magical time during late adolescence when friendships can suddenly blossom into unexpectedly intense intimacies and surprising revelations.” —The Jerusalem Post

“A novel as rich and complicated as war — and peace — “Sadness is a White Bird” is a bold debut.” –The Eastern Iowa Gazette

“In a political, ideological, social and deeply personal conflict that continues to defy treaties and agreements, love might seem difficult to come by. Yet “Sadness is a White Bird” is brimming with it. Rothman-Zecher digs deep into his country’s past and present, through difficult truths and beautiful stories, illustrating one boy’s journey of finding himself and his history, finding peace in a state of war, finding love in a world of hate.” –The Daily Californian

“So much of this book features laughter, with almost hyperfocus, that it belies the title. Personally, I can account for the particular sound of laughter here that stands out in stark contrast to the way laughter sounds in English, and that may be why Rothman-Zecher gives it such priority.” –Anthony Michael Morena / Full Stop Magazine

“Searing in its beauty, devastating in its emotional power, and dazzling in its insights, Moriel Rothman-Zecher’s debut novel, Sadness Is a White Bird, is, I promise you, like nothing you’ve ever read.” —The Washington Independent Review of Books

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