Will iconic images recorded in the grooves of an ancient vase unite the Holy Land or rip it further apart?


A novel by Mark M. DeRobertis

Muhsin Muhabi is a Palestinian potter, descended from a long line of potters. His business is run from the same shop owned by his ancestors since the day his forebears moved to Nazareth. The region's conflict saw the death of his oldest son, and rogue terrorists are in the process of recruiting his youngest in their plot to assassinate the Pope and Israeli prime minister.

Professor Hiram Weiss is an art historian at Nazareth’s Bethel University. He is also a Shin Bet operative on special assignment. With the help of fellow agent, Captain Benny Mathias, he plans to destroy the gang responsible for the death of his wife and only child. He puts a bomb in the ancient vase he takes on loan from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.

Mary Levin, the charming assistant to the director of Shin Bet, has lost a husband and most of her extended family to recurring wars and never-ending terrorism. She dedicates her life to the preservation of Israel, but to whom will she dedicate her heart? The brilliant professor from Bethel University? Or the gallant captain who now leads Kidon?

Harvey Holmes, the Sherlock of Haunted Houses, is a Hollywood TV host whose reality show just flopped. When a Lebanese restaurant owner requests his ghost-hunting services, he believes the opportunity will resurrect his career. All he has to do is exorcise the ghosts that are haunting the restaurant. It happens to be located right across the street from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I've been inundated with the hullabaloo over Jonathan Franzen's new book, Freedom. Never read anything by him. I understand that he won book of the year nine years ago for a novel called The Collections. Hhmmnn.

From what I understand, the book, Freedom, is about a family that moved from St. Paul to Washington and failed in their endeavors over there. It's about how the freedoms in America can lead a family down the wrong road, or something like that. Hhmmnn. It makes me wonder how agents would have responded if someone with no name had submitted query letters for a story like that. I'm betting a bucket full of rejections would have ensued. I'm betting that an unpublished author would have no takers. And yes, probably for the same book, word for word.

But the man won book of the year for a prior novel, so he's in an entirely different place. Don't know anything about The Collections. But I did go to Amazon and took a look inside the book, Freedom. They allow you to read the first six or seven pages, and I did. It was nothing particularly good. Not to me. The first five pages were all backstory about a couple who lived in St. Paul who renovated their own house. The woman was young, the man from rural origins, and both Liberals.

OK. So what? By the time the story actually started, on the sixth page, what was happening was a meaningless discussion at a women's get-together concerning a problem the MC had with her son. I remember being criticized by an inexperienced agent for having a page of backstory near the beginning of my book, THE VASE. (Actually, she was an agent's assistant.) I wonder what she'd have to say about Freedom's five-page backstory beginning.

I will have to go check out The Collections. That must have been some book.

No comments:

Post a Comment