Friday, November 17, 2017

Review by Brenny -- Keys to Tetouan by Mois Benarroch

Review by Brenny -- Keys to Tetouan by Mois Benarroch

Post Number:#1 by Brenny » Yesterday, 04:38
[Following is a volunteer review of "Keys to Tetouan" by Mois Benarroch.]

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3 out of 4 stars

Review by Brenny

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Keys to Tetouan by Mois Benarroch is an exciting and emotional story of Fernando Benzimra who is elaborating his journey to discovering his ancestral roots. The story begins when Fernando’s father dies and leaves behind a letter that revealed he was Jewish. Fernando is determined to uncover his past, and so he travels from Tetouan where he lived to find his cousin and later other members of his family who lived all over Algiers, Spain, Venezuela, Brazil, and Oran. The author attempts to reveal how the Benzimra family always long to return to their homeland Tetouan in Northern Morocco.

Benarroch uses Fernando’s life story to highlight historical religious conflicts. Notably, the author focuses on the Jewish people and their discrimination by the French, Spaniards and British. Throughout the story, the author uses flashback to elaborate the lives of the characters in the book and intertwines events in his present life with those from his past. At first, it is difficult to follow the story because of the uniqueness of the style the author uses to unravel the story. Rather than using conventional chapters like any ordinary book, the author tells the story following the chronological order of the historical events.

I liked the poetic touch the author used to develop the story especially when Fernando’s grandfather narrating the history of Tetouan. Moreover, he uses the phrase “the key ” throughout the text to emphasize the relevance of the title of the book. The author seems to evade the usual punctuations to achieve his poetic intention. The author interludes his chapters with conversations, which kept me, entertained as I read the book. I did not like that the paragraphs were too long as it attracted boredom while reading the story.

I rate Keys to Tetouan 3 out of 4 stars. The story was engaging, and the theme was clear. However, a few grammar errors are evident throughout the text. For instance, on page 9, the second paragraph, “the whole the Benzimra family…” instead of “The whole of the Benzimra family…” In numerous instances, the author uses a comma instead of using the full stop. For example, on page 177, the chapter titled “Exile,” in the first paragraph. Several other paragraphs in the text exhibit similar use of the comma.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or someone who seeks to understand the different religious conflicts in the world and how they affected people.

******
Keys to Tetouan 
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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Review by RR Wildstone -- Keys to Tetouan by Mois Benarroch

Review by RR Wildstone -- Keys to Tetouan by Mois Benarroch

Post Number:#1 by RR Wildstone » Today, 02:36
[Following is a volunteer review of "Keys to Tetouan" by Mois Benarroch.]

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3 out of 4 stars

Review by RR Wildstone

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Keys to Tetouan is a historical novel and part of The Tetouan Trilogy that delves deeper into Sephardic Jews’ perspective. This book is a good entertainment for historical enthusiasts especially Israeli and Middle-Eastern enthusiasts and for those who are looking for heavy reading. It is a solid work from author, Mois Bennaroch to assert the life of Sephardic Jews during and after exile period.

This book is primarily about one of descendents of exiled people from Spain who seek out his ancestry, Benzimra Family that spread out around the world and what he discovered. It started in 1492 when Spain chases Jews under the notions of religion. People were scattered and emigrated throughout the world. The family settled in an area near frontier while waiting and longing to come back to their homeland. The reader is taken on a journey through the days of struggle and fear within social and political conflicts and how these people unfit exactly between 2 nationalities.

This book is well described and able to attract me as beginner historical reader. What I like about the book is it told us a part of Jews in how they were treated, their values, their behavior, and their perspective in time of crisis. The best part is it succeeds in intriguing reader to research and find out about Jews tradition and its people. The way Mois Bennaroch wrote it is very touching and real that drove us back through the time machine.

The author wrote it in his own unique style in form of long dialogue. However there is little narrative and mostly are lengthy monologue that tends to be monotonous that make the story feels like dragging. I think the author presumes that readers are familiar with Jews people and its tradition, so I was a bit struggling to stop in the middle of the story to research so I can catch up and grasp its flow. It is a bit problematic for me because I have to spend relatively a long time to read only small sections of it and do research as well and sometimes causes the mood swings.

I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The writer was able to bring readers to get into the story and catch the value and perspective of Jews; also interest reader who unfamiliar with Jews culture to engage with it. The downfall for me is there is no foot note about jargon or word that would ease readers in understanding the story as a whole. Overall I’d say this is a good book with good idea and plot but it could be delivered in a more attractive way with more editing on merged words.

******
Keys to Tetouan 
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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Review by Andrew Matenzawa -- Keys to Tetouan

Review by Andrew Matenzawa -- Keys to Tetouan


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Keys to Tetouan is a novel that traces the origins of Bezimra family through turbulent times in history. The author narrates about the challenges/hardships that his ancestors faced in the foreign land of Spain, Venezuela, Tetouan, United States, Greece, France, and Italy. Each chapter in the novel described the history of Bezimra family but told from a different ancestor perspective. Each chapter is either a dialogue between grandfather and grandson, mother and father and a letter written by family members.

After Fernando Benzimra father dies, he discovers a letter that reveals to him that he is of Jewish background, tracing his roots from Tetouan. He finds it shocking why his father kept his heritage a secret and he starts to search for clues and reaches out for his uncle, Moshe Benzimra. He conducts a couple of search on the internet that reveals to him that Jews were once oppressed in Spain so much to the extent that they were ordered to either convert or leave the country. Many Jews were forced to leave and many settled in Tetouan. The author’s parents also settled in Tetouan when he was 13 years.

The narrator now adjusted to Tetouan life wants to live a life that he has come to know, but his mother is determined and also passionate about the freedom of her family, she is also very convincing in her arguments. I profoundly sympathize with the narrator, what all his family had to endure to secure freedom.

The story is narrated from the first person perspective thus creating a strong bond/connection between the narrator and the readers. The novel focuses on the themes of Jewish exile and culture. The narrative is mainly drawn from the time when the Jews were exiled from Spain during the 16th century. The geographical focus being Tetouan, a city in Morocco and one of the closest towns to Spain, considerably being one of the main reasons why the Fernando ancestors settled there.

Despite its ability to provoke emotions and keep the readers engaged, I feel that the book requires thorough professional editing. There are some errors that I noticed some mistakes that could otherwise have been avoided if a professional editing had been put in place
1. Spelling problems
“school at launch breaks” instead of lunch breaks Page 59
2. Phrasing that doesn't make sense
“but why did I feel in exile when I was in Jerusalem” Page 107


I also found some difficulties in grasping the continuity of the story. It bounces back and forth such that at some point I found myself getting lost in between. I rate this book 3 out of 4. I gave the book three stars because the central themes of the books are vividly described in detail. I found the first person perspective creating a deep connection better than if it would have been written in the second or third point of views. I was happy with how Fernando was able to trace his family roots without missing out some critical details. I was delighted to learn about the Jewish heritage, having a glimpse of their life, and how they came to me was fascinating.

I can recommend this book to readers who fancy historical novels, stories presented with facts. On the other hand, I feel that the book would not be appealing to readers who have no passion for historical reading books with facts, books with religion as a theme.

******
Keys to Tetouan 
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Review by centfie -- Keys to Tetouan by Mois Benarroch


[Following is a   review of "Keys to Tetouan" by Mois Benarroch.]

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3 out of 4 stars



Keys to Tetouan is not the typical novel that is arranged chapter by chapter with a constant flow of ideas. Mois Benarroch used a unique writing style in this novel. The chapters are arranged based on chronological information. He ignores the the common format of numbered chapters.

The story is about a man who is tracing his roots from Tetouan as a member of the Benzimra family. The reader is gradually given clues concerning the meaning of the title of the book through several instances when 'the key' is mentioned. The choice of the title is perfect for the book. If I was to award the relevance of the title to the story, I would give it 4 out of 4 stars.

The author uses frequent flash back to give the reader an idea about the life of the characters. He intertwines the present and the past events of the main character's life through brief dialogues. Reading the book feels like watching a movie with short scenes that do not make sense at first but, with a bit of patience, the gist of the story finally starts to sink in. The storyline was confusing at first but, as I patiently read on it became clear what the story was about.

The narrative is poetic especially at the instances when the grandfather, Mimon, narrates the history of their people to his grandson. You can tell that the author is a poet since the lack of adhering to punctuation rules seems intentional.

Keys to Tetouan addresses the theme of culture and prejudice in the entire content. The major clash is between being Jew or Christian. The main character is battling to find his identity and that of his children. As a child, his family moved from exile to reside in their land- Israel. Residing among Jews still presents them with other forms of social segregation.

I give Keys to Tetouan 3 out of 4 stars because it had petty spelling mistakes that can be eliminated with accurate editing. The book in its entirety is an excellent literary work. It is humorous and captivating. I think Mois Benarroch is more powerful as a poet than a novelist.

I would recommend this novel to the patient reader who does not mind reading slow paced historical fiction narratives. However, Keys to Tetouan might be a boring read to the reader who prefers an easy or direct plot which does not need critical thinking skills.

******
Keys to Tetouan 
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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Review by Jaime Lync -- The Nobel Prize by Mois benarroch

Review by Jaime Lync -- The Nobel Prize by Mois benarroch

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Review by Jaime Lync

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The Nobel Prize by award winning author Mois Benarroch captivates the reader from the first to the twenty- fifth (last) chapter chiefly by employing light humor while addressing the weighty subject of mental illness. This psychological thriller plunges us into the demented mind of a starving artist who just so happens to form a habit of visiting another institutionalized paranoid schizophrenic writer who impersonates a different character from one of his many published novels every day. The main character also meets a number of very peculiar supporting characters that serve to augment the reader’s intrigue in the novel while simultaneously advancing the plot. At the end of the book the reader is left wanting more and wondering who is who and what is what.

Benarroch’s conversational and witty writing style births desire in me to recount the story to others. However, I believe my retelling of the story would be my version as the novel is very open to the reader’s interpretation because it forces us to decipher between reality and delusions. The book opened with no table of content or acknowledgement just a page dedicated to an insightful and relevant quote. A table of content does not seem necessary because (a) the chapters are simply numbered, I liked this since most chapter titles act as spoilers, and (b) though there are twenty five chapters the average length of the chapters is two pages. The plot relied heavily on well composed dialogues. I especially enjoyed how the scenes and chapters flowed logically one into the other.

Moreover, though the central theme is mental illness the author also comments on other social themes. He speaks a lot on marital affairs. As for sexuality, he fringes around the topic. The well ‘fleshed-out’ characters also embody themes such as identity crisis, self-esteem, success and failure. All of these themes interwoven into the novel heighten the sense of suspense that is already attached to this genre of fictional work.

However, Mois’s work is not without cons. There are some editorial issues that sometimes baffle the reader. For example, female characters are sometimes referred to as males. Though these grammatical errors are few and far in between whenever they arise the reader is likely to get confused and have to re-read some portions to reclaim his bearing. The switch from dialogue to thoughts is also hard to distinguish at time because there are no quotation marks. Another con in my opinion is the use of curse words (I know many people that will not read a great book because the f-bomb is dropped). Moreover, Benarroch’s devoted a chapter to vividly paint a bizarre mature content scene that could have been disclosed briefly. The act of going into such graphic detail may serve as a ‘turn-off’ for many readers. I believe that this book would have been an even more enjoyable read if the grammatical errors and a specific obscene chapter did not make it onto the final draft of the novel.

In summary, The Nobel Prize is an enjoyable novel that could be enjoyed in one sitting and provoke thoughts on serious social issues for months. I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars because though I am highly inclined to recommend it to avid and non-avid readers alike there seems to be a lack of thorough editorial work as well as a scene that I would advise all to avoid. Overall, the novel is praiseworthy.

******
The Nobel Prize 
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4/4 stars Review -- The Nobel Prize by Mois benarroch

Review by clyoblue -- The Nobel Prize by Mois benarroch


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4 out of 4 stars

Review by clyoblue

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What does an oversexed, vaguely misogynistic, poor but principled writer do when confronted with an comely alien amputee who subsists on human memories? It won’t spoil anything to describe what transpires as an athletic ballet. In his brisk new novel (novella?), The Nobel Prize, Mois Benarroch unravels the delicate tendrils of sanity as they are plucked one by one from a narrator who has too few to spare.

Jorge Acuario is the well respected but underfunded writer in question who punctuates his awkward encounters with lines like, “More and more often I make people laugh without intending to do so, and at night, it made me weep.” Acuario learns in passing that a peripheral spectre from his past, Pablo Pisces, has resurfaced, committed to mental institution where he is taken hostage by the characters of his own novels, who possess him mind and body each day. Some are harmless. One confesses, “I’ve killed someone, many years ago, I’ve killed a woman, because my family said I couldn’t do anything.” Acuario begins to visit Pisces on a regular basis, each time absorbing more of the anguished writer’s sickness.

Acuario finds that he can predict which characters will manifest with Pisces on any given day, and rushes to the institution when he has a premonition that Claudio the suicide is due for a visit. The Nobel Prize is indeed granted in the book, but it’s an afterthought that caps a twisted tale of a shared identity crisis. The line between reality and imagination suffers as Jorge Acuario takes this strange world with him when he leaves the institution. “As in many of these meetings,” he reveals, “I could not convince myself they were real, I was not sure whether I had imagined them, or even written them, at least in my mind. Or if they really happened.”

Benarroch’s dialogue-heavy style makes even some of his digressions breezy reading. Pisces dada-esque phone conversation with a help-line operator alone is worth the price of admission. He evokes the dreamy kind of dread one feels when waking up from a black out drunk as the unsettled brain struggles to maintain consistent focus. The reader will let down her guard just enough to accept the questionable reality that develops.

What if your imagination is your reality, what if it is in your best interest to create characters that seem real enough to you and even more alive to your readers, characters that you could maybe converse with in your mind. What if those characters become detached, free floating, like thoughts, and then maybe in a moment of spiritual or physical weakness, they find you empty and take the opportunity to enter you, to possess you more completely than before. Our self-conception is vulnerable to passing fancy. Couldn’t I as easily be a Gene or a Benjamin instead of an Anthony? What if I had no choice? Benarroch keeps us guessing until the very end, when our narrator comes to terms with the discomfiting flights of random coincidence that plague his daily routine. Benarroch earns 4 out of 4 stars for juggling suspense, sex, and philosophy in a story that, for anyone who has ever loved a character on the page or screen, is eerily, entirely plausible.

******
The Nobel Prize 
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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Review of "Keys to Tetouan" by Mois Benarroch

Review by Katleho -- Keys to Tetouan by Mois Benarroch


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Rating : 3 out of 4 stars

Immediately after discovering that his father was actually an immigrant from nearby Spain, Fernando Benzimra sets events into action in trying to trace his roots. Interestingly, Fernando comes to the realization of his Jewish ancestry after his father’s death through a letter. I actually felt the epiphany when the author Benarroch tries to reveal benzimra’s family situation which is buried under a century of generations in the movement back and forth through places like Spain, Tetouan in Morocco and even Israel.

Benarroch clearly wants to share with the readers the quest and adventures of Fernando when he endeavors to unearth his ancestral roots. History lovers will definitely agree with me that in order to fit all the pieces together for the better understanding of the author’s work, extensive research is required, with a personal connection to his history notwithstanding. For example, the author’s family had to be exiled from Spain to Tetoun in morocco due to political and religious tension, after which they finally settled in Israel as a young Jewish boy. The nostalgic and poetic occurrence of events shows clearly that the author identifies with the character Fernando as he recollects his lost identity between living in morocco and Israel. He struggled to preserve his real identity despite external pressures such as cultural norms and expectations.

The author underscores arguments based on religious affiliations, in this case, the Jewish faith. He posits the general clashes between various cultures and faith where we as readers are supposed to understand the persecution and exiling of Jews throughout history. Peaceful coexistence is also Benaroch’s focus and I find this appealing especially in today’s contemporary society where political crisis in most countries up north emanate from religious differences.

The question of Identity largely forms the theme of this novel by Benarroch. The author reiterates that with the benzimra family, their geographical location predominantly defines one’s ethnic and religious affiliation. Benzimra poses a lot of question that philosophically tries to explain what defines a man and whether his home is concrete or abstract in nature. The unpredicted end to the story creates a comic effect and gives the readers a sense of judgmental view of people like David and moshe who are not curious about their history. However, this piece cannot be attractive to all especially readers who don’t come from religiously polarized countries. Therefore, many if not all would not allude to life experiences.

However, the author risks boredom especially through very long monologues. The first person narration is not also that exciting for a reader not mentioning the evidently required professional editing to that could benefit this piece. I detected the ambiguity and vagueness especially in the monologues where clarity is not given first priority for example where home is argued to be one’s identity but in another case a different scenario altogether. Some sentence errors include; ‘grandsonwhocarries’ pg9 and ‘I could have went to the synagogue’ pg62 among others. For this reason I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars because even with the errors the piece is still educational with an emotional touch.

Ultimately, Benaroch creates a captivating read full of emotions and long life struggles for those in search of a sense of belonging. I love the drama upon which the author establishes the premise to explore issues of discrimination along religious and ethnic lines. The message in this novel Keys To Tetouan is very strong thereby inspiring readers especially immigrants to understand the importance of recognizing history.

******
Keys to Tetouan 
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Monday, October 9, 2017

Review by TCC Edwards -- The Nobel Prize by Mois benarroch

Review by TCC Edwards -- The Nobel Prize by Mois benarroch

Post Number:#1 by TCC Edwards » 13 Jan 2017, 16:10
[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Nobel Prize" by Mois benarroch.]

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3 out of 4 stars

Review by TCC Edwards

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I have to admit that I probably wouldn't have read The Nobel Prize by Mois Benarroch if it hadn't been offered by the Online Book Club. I was also nearly put off from reviewing it because of poor translations on both the book's Amazon page and within the first few pages of the book. I'm glad I stuck with it; it was refreshing to read a work outside of my usual fare of sci-fi and fantasy.

I think the premise was what really drew me in and kept me reading. The narrator is a writer who finds out that an old member of his writing group is in a mental institution. When the narrator visits the hospital, he finds this other writer is acting like his characters, taking on the personality of a different character every day. As the narrator documents his visits to the hospital, his life grows more surreal, as the line between fiction and reality is blurred. The narrative is filled with playful jabs at writers and the craft of writing, and shows how every good writer is just a little insane.

I'll have to admit to not 'getting' some of the satire and points the author was trying to make. For instance, in the second half of the book, the narrator meets a woman who claims to be an alien, and ends up having a bizarre sexual encounter with her. I could tell the author was messing with me by having this sex-crazed alien appear and tempt the (married!) narrator out of the blue, but I still don't know what to make of it - a commentary on gratuitous sex scenes in novels? A satire of nonsensical characters that enter into and disappear from stories? It was funny and weird to read, though, even if I didn't understand every point.

As I suggested earlier, the first thing I noticed were some oddities in translation. Some sentences end in strange ways, and there are several small problems with grammar. I have to wonder if some of it is intentional; after all, the narrative constantly plays with the reader.

Another 'problem' with the narrative - the book telegraphs its ending fairly early on. I suspect most readers will guess the ending within the first few chapters, but again, this is all part of a satire full of fourth-wall breaks and bizarre happenings.

My final rating is 3 out of 4. While I can appreciate the satire in the odd narrative, the translation really needed more work to entice English-speaking readers. I think that the opening pages, at least, needed to be edited for grammar, as well as the promotional pages on Amazon and elsewhere. It's really difficult for the reader to know just what they are getting into, and I think it's too off-putting to dismiss as 'part of the satire'.

******
The Nobel Prize 
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Review by Insightsintobooks -- The Nobel Prize

Review by Insightsintobooks -- The Nobel Prize

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Nobel Prize" by Mois benarroch.]

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The Nobel Prize by Mois Benarroch is a short story that tells of a descent into madness as well as the life of a writer. The narrator, a writer, participated in a writing club twenty years earlier. He learns from another writer who was in the club that Jorge has gone mad. Jorge has been committed to a mental institution. He becomes a character from one of his books everyday.

The narrator goes to visit Jorge and thinks that he would make a good character for a book. While he is there he meets a nurse named Eva. He befriends Eva and learns more about Jorge from her. He also meets Lextra, a woman who is divorced and an alien from another planet.

The narrator tells us with a bit of humor about the life of a writer. He tells it from the perspective of a writer looking for a story. He explains what it is like not to hear from publishers and the struggles that being a writer can bring. After visiting his friend, the narrator starts to question his sanity at times.

We are also given a look at how a writer can become their characters, in this case literally. We are shown throughout the book how each of a writer's characters are part of the writer himself. I liked this aspect of the book.

There were some parts of this book that I found confusing, but I think this may have been intentional due to the plot of the book. However, I think that this could have been remedied while still keeping the substance of the book. Despite that I was a bit confused at the beginning, the plot was well written. I was surprised at the ending. I think that everything came together well in the end.

There were some mechanical errors in this book. Sadly, one of these errors was on the first page. There was a period in the middle of a sentence. This ruined the book for me, a little, as I couldn't seem to forget about it.

Overall, I enjoyed the content of the book. I liked how the narrator developed in the book. I think that the topic of a writer becoming his characters was interesting. I think this would be a good book for anyone interested in the psychology of the mind and the life of a writer. Despite my confusion in the beginning and the mechanical errors, I think this book deserves 3 out of 4 stars.

******
The Nobel Prize 
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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

BOOK Review by Donnavila Marie01 -- Raquel Says (Something Entirely Unexpected)

Review by Donnavila Marie01 -- Raquel Says (Something Entirely Unexpected)

Post Number:#1 by Donnavila Marie01 » 14 Apr 2017, 15:51
[Following is a volunteer review of "Raquel Says (Something Entirely Unexpected)" by Mois benarroch.]

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Raquel Says (Something Entirely Unexpected) by Mois Benarroch

Do you believe in soul mates? Do you dream of someone? Let me quote what I read about soulmate which makes sense. “I told you. You don't love someone because of their looks or their clothes or their car. You love them because they sing a song only your heart can understand.” By L.J. Smith. Until you find the link that completes your very soul, the feeling will never go away”. Does it touch a part of your soul?

Raquel Says (Something Entirely Unexpected) by Mois Benarroch is a short story of love and sacrifice. It only contains 103 pages. The reader can finish this at one sitting. This is the second book of Benarroch that I enjoyed. Once again, the unique style of Benarroch activated billions of my brain cells. Benarroch used prose and poetry which made this story more interesting.

The author provided preliminary pages to recount the background about Mois and Raquel. How they came to know each other and what kind of relationship they have. These preliminary pages prepare the readers to grasp the issues in this complicated love story.

It has only two main characters, Mois and Raquel. Mois is a writer who is also referred to as Moisito and Moshe. Raquel who is also called Esther is also a writer. Mois describe her having brown hair and large deep eyes. Both Mois and Raquel are in their forty years of existence. They are both married but are not happy in their married life. I like how Benarroch portrayed the two characters. They seem fragile but strong. They depict characters who give high respect to the vow of marriage. In a real life situation, people facing this challenge can give up and follow the dictate of their hearts.

What I like about this piece of art is its touch of expressionism. It is not a typical love story which is a “happy ever after” or “the death of one is the death of two” ending. It is not like the story of Romeo and Juliet which is full of anguish. It has its own unique theme which holds readers until they finish the last page. What puzzles me in this story is the author's decision of using his name instead of other names.

I give this book 3 out of 4 stars. I cannot give 4 stars even if I enjoyed the story because of grammatical errors. I recommend this book to those who love prose and poetry and those who want to read unique love stories. Those are not a fan of poetry and classical style may find this story plain.

******
Raquel Says (Something Entirely Unexpected) 
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Review by Mark Johnson ofThe Nobel Prize by Mois benarroch

Review by Mark Johnson -- The Nobel Prize by Mois benarroch

Post Number:#1 by Mark Johnson » 23 Jan 2017, 06:39
[Following is a volunteer review of "The Nobel Prize" by Mois benarroch.]

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3 out of 4 stars

Review by Mark Johnson

The Nobel Prize is a book of fictional prose by Mois Benarroch. It is a story within a story. On the surface the book is about an author who learns that an old colleague of his has been committed to a mental hospital and has dementia. The colleague named Jorge lives his life portraying the various characters he once wrote about. The main character then decides this would be a great idea for a novel and begins researching all the books that Jorge has written to learn of the various characters and personalities that Jorge might portray.

Underneath the main story is another story. The main character runs into other writing colleagues besides Jorge that had once belonged to the same writing group several decades before. Throughout the book the main character gives us insights into the writer's mind, how they interacted, and what they thought of each other.

Not only is this a good book with the use of a story within a story, but it is also a clever work of prose. At one point the main character is talking to Jorge, who was portraying a professor at the time, and asks the professor if he knows who Fon Franco is. The professor replies that he is a Planeta Prize winner. The main character asks a few more questions, then asks if he knows who Mois Bernarroch is. The professor replies that he is also a Planeta Prize winner. That is pretty clever because the author uses his actual name in the fictional conversation.

At times though, this book is difficult to follow due to the nature of the fine line it walks between dementia and reality. There is a purpose for it that drive you to the end, yet sometimes I found myself questioning what was going on. Then when I got to the end I wanted to read the book again; it was that good of an ending.

The audience would be adult readers who like fictional stories, or good works of prose. Due to a couple of scenes that are meant for adults, this book would not be appropriate for young readers.

I gave this book 3 out of 4 stars. While there is plenty to like about this book, I thought the editing could have been better. Page three the word right is capitalized for no reason. Same thing on page six, the word good is capitalized for no reason. On page 40 one sentence has two commas in a row where there should only be one. On page 51 there was a period at the end of a sentence, a space, and then another period. The next sentence began immediately following the second period. These are just a few examples.

Editing aside, this was a really fun book to read. I definitely recommend The Nobel Prize. This is the first book by Mois Benarroch that I have read and look forward to reading more by the author.

******
The Nobel Prize 
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Review of "Keys to Tetouan" by Mois Benarroch

 Keys to Tetouan

Review by ChloeHumphreys -- Keys to Tetouan



I rate this book a 3 out of 4 stars. It is a well written novel with minimal grammatical errors, which, as a history lover, I was instantly hooked on. I believe a strong introduction and more background information may attract a wider range of readers, not just those interested in Judaism and history in general. The ambiguity throughout the novel has a charming character, however I believe with just a touch of explicitness the novel would be far more captivating and universal.

Benarroch's historical literature, gripping yet easy to digest, holds the raw authenticity that is only achieved through extensive research and a personal connection to the subject.

Thrust into the Benzimra family's experiences throughout the generations, the reader is blindly forced to fit together the pieces of the puzzle and act like a true historian, interpreting various source-like accounts. Ultimately, the work is a moving, poetic and nostalgic account on the true makeup of identity and the human yearning for home - which, in this case, is Tetouan.

Delicately, Benarroch describes the subtle and ambiguous nuances within the Jewish faith and explores a myriad arguments on the interesting debate on Zionism. It is a story of anti-Semitism and clashes between variant faiths and cultures in general, it is about exile and persecution - an 'understanding [of] the ever-exiled Jew' - but also about coexistence and peaceful assimilation - Benarroch's focus is especially relevant and resonates in today's political climate, therefore interesting me greatly.

The Benzimra family largely demonstrate the importance of geographical identity, highlighting the common fallacy that faith or ethnicity is the predominant feature of one's personhood - there is no place like home after all. Not only does Benzimra dabble in history and the ethics of faith, he subtly poses many philosophical questions - from what or where does man form his identity? What is home? Is home ever truly a concrete place or is it metaphysical? As a reader, you are forced to consider many things, which is both rewarding and ensures you continue reading the novel until the very end.

Ultimately, the author also has another clear and resounding message throughout the novel - the importance of the acknowledgment of history, including but not exclusive to one's own ancestry, shown through moments such as that concerning David Zemer.

The improbable end, however, starkly contrasts with the rest of the largely realistic novel and can unintentionally be seen as quite comical. However, despite this arguably out of place ending, the children (Moshe and David) are resultantly forced to explore their past. As the reader we focus on their naivety when they are uninterested in certain aspects of their history, and the moral and intellectual superiority when intrigued. This allows Benarroch to successfully reiterate the importance and great regard with which one must hold history and legacy.

Ultimately, 'Keys to Tetouan' was an enjoyable read despite some flaws, an excellent piece of historical fiction full of drama, emotion, and the age-long struggle to find 'home' for those of the Jewish faith. Benarroch's strong messages throughout the novel make for an interesting, thought-provoking and informative read that I will definitely remember for years to come, as well as providing inspiration for the reader to explore and delve deeper into Jewish history.

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Keys to Tetouan 
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Review by Ashington Waweru -- Keys to Tetouan

Review by Ashington Waweru -- Keys to Tetouan

Post Number:#1 by Ashington Waweru » Today, 07:52
[Following is a volunteer review of "Keys to Tetouan" by Mois Benarroch.]

Book Cover

3 out of 4 stars



The book Keys to Tetouan by Mois Benarroch explores the background religious roots of the Sephardic Jewish identity of a Moroccan family. The well-illustrated story line is within the context of the plights of one Benzimra family in their attempts to find their true cultural and religious identity. The plot explains why, the members of the Benzimra family are always on “the run” to their home country Morocco and the city they were born in and long for, Tetouan, at least spiritually in a longing for their religion. The inquest into their cultural identity deeply explores the nature of religious antisemitism, alienation and relations between Sephardic Jews within and without as citizens in Morocco and in other countries of the world where they run to seek refuge and relief but find none.

The plot thickens in the quest of the protagonist, a young man, finding out about the true nature of his roots and the truth about his heritage in his lineage that his predecessors in the family line faced far from comfortable circumstances. It elucidates the true nature of Jewish supremacy for anyone out to seek for the deeper meaning or who is eloquent in Jewish historical injustices, racial discrimination and the inhumanity bestowed on Jews since the time of Hitler and beyond. This only proving that the Jewish strength lies not in standing up for themselves but in might of religious belief bestowed upon them, for example, for the Benzimra family members to withstand the injustices meted out upon them in the countries they emigrate to in search of peace, might require intervention of peculiar powers to withstand and overcome. The existence of deeply rooted Spanish Roman catholic despise and dislike for Jewish traits is evidenced when the father confesses to the Fernando, the protagonist, how he had to sacrifice his Jewish beliefs to win the love of his wife Marisol, who is ironically also a Jew.

Reading the book was of particular interest to me in quenching specific interest in the Jewish religion and culture and the spiritual inclinations of the eminent differences of the Roman Catholic and Israel-Jewish religions as is evidenced by Bible prophesy. Why would Jewish relations with other cultural and religious affiliations be of such importance other than relations within other cultures themselves? This is a question, which leaves a lot to ponder about in one’s mind, clearly depicts the facts annotated in the Bible in Revelation 12 “the daughter of Zion” as the pure woman or the pure church in the world and Revelation 17, “the daughter of Babylon” as the unclean church of the world. That way, it only leaves room for the reader to decide for himself or herself which religious affiliation, church or denomination they belong to out of the two and obviously which one is Jewish too.

The book brings to the readers realization of the conflicts between religious belief systems in the world by a comparison of interaction between Jewish-Muslim and Jewish-Christian religions. The book provides an insight into the roots of the fundamental truths and facets recorded in the most read literature in the world, “the Bible” and interludes which evidence or add strength to its basic reason. The reason being Jews have and will always be alienated and will never feel at home anywhere the world over because of, “alluding to the truth in the scriptures” and the impact this has on their cultural identity.

Apparently, the twelve Jewish apostles in the Bible did not find the world to be favorable or good nor were they called to find favor in the world and died cruel deaths. Therefore, it is just the nature of the true Jewish religion and applies to apostles even today, but I am sure even Benarroch knew as much when writing the book, I being of African descent propagated religiously into Jewish religion while seeking the truth with my limited Jewish knowledge. This being so, Benarroch deserves a big kudos pat on the back for such great work of exploring ways for Jews to be in the world. The Jews as the elect of Elohim have to be in the world and spread the true gospel and it has never been and will never be a simple task, until the prophesied time in the book of Revelation 20: 4-6, when they shall reign with Yahshua Messiah for a thousand years and forever thereafter in the life everlasting.

Besides the narrative being difficult to flow and connect with, for the reader, the paragraphs are also too long, a factor, which might put off many reader’s attention. The interludes of conversation between chapters encourage the reader to keep reading. I would read the Jewish version of the book Keys to Tetouan translated to English just to enjoy that ravishing in-depth understanding of reading in a first language but reading in English just does it fine for me, as I cannot read in Jewish language. This, unfortunately, may not apply to everyone who does not have such a command of the written English language as I do to be able to overcome the grammatical and syntax errors, which are apparently evident in the text. Neither does it help Benarroch in an attempt to gratify the errors as ethnic editorial lingo as the defaulting from known facets of the English language and the heavy influence of Hebrew language translation mistakes ramp out even the editors and translators. If the text were good in Hebrew, I would advise Benarroch to find translators, editors and proofreaders who are competent in both English and Hebrew. The story line does not flow well over time as later chapters take the plot line to preceding years of the story. Under these circumstances, I have no option but to retain one star and give the book a rating of 3 out of 4 stars.

I recommend the book as a must read for everyone and to institutions involved in anthropological and religious facets and evolution of the Jewish religion and cultures and their relation to the world at large.

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Keys to Tetouan 
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