Friday, August 11, 2017

Review of Keys to Tetouan

Review by EmunahAn -- Keys to Tetouan by Mois Benarroch

Post Number:#1 by EmunahAn » 06 Aug 2017, 05:56
[Following is a volunteer review of "Keys to Tetouan" by Mois Benarroch.]

Book Cover

3 out of 4 stars

Review by EmunahAn

Fernando Benzimra is a man of Jewish ancestry who is eager to trace his roots back to Tetouan. The story starts with a conversation between him and his cousin Moshe Benzimra. Fernando has recently found out that he is of Jewish ancestry which has sparked his curiosity in learning about his family and homeland. As the story progresses, more characters of the Benzimra family are introduced by the writer. These characters narrate their different experiences throughout key events of Jewish history.

The story mostly features Tetouan, a town in Morocco where Jews moved to after expulsion in Spain. The main family featured in the book, the Benzimra family, is from Tetouan but its members are spread out all over the world in places such as Paris, Greece, New York, Madrid and Jerusalem. The book also features the Jewish return to Israel from around the world. Within the book are short conversations held between Jewish family members that give the reader first-hand experience of families moving from the current cities they reside in to Tetouan looking for answers and a place that they can really call home.

The book is mainly built around Jewish culture and the events that have shaped its history. It has a unique style of narration. The author builds characters through their own narration of parts of their lives from a first person position. The author does not expound much on the characters and only gives the reader a glimpse of their lives, leaving details to the reader’s imagination. This type of writing ensured that I remained alert to understand the story and connected me more closely to the characters.

Keys to Tetouan by Mois Benarroch is a work of historical fiction majorly based on Jewish heritage. The writer, Mois Benarroch, carefully presents different feelings of members of the Benzimra family which gives the reader first-hand experience of what the Jews have been through, throughout different centuries. He expounds on their feeling of homelessness and their survival through incredible adversity.

The book was an informative read. I got to learn about different important events and culture of the Jewish people and the ways these two aspects have shaped their attitudes and way of life as told by Mois Benarroch. The book is best suited for anyone who wants to learn about Jewish history. It, however, lacks the ability to captivate the reader through suspense and dramatization. In addition to this, too many characters are introduced too randomly. I, therefore, rate the book 3 out of 4 stars.

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