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Rebecca Sacks Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

City of a Thousand Gates (2021)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Rebecca Sacks
Author Rebecca Sacks graduated from the Programs in Writing at the University of California, Irvine.

In the year 2019, she got a Canada Council for the Arts Grant, along with the Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation’s Henfield Prize for fiction. Rebecca has been awarded fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Mellon-Sawyer Documenting War Seminar Series, and the Juniper Summer Writing Institute.

After she graduated from Dartmouth College, she worked at Vanity Fair for several years before she moved to Israel, where she got her master’s degree in Jewish Studies. Her dispatches from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv have been published in journals like the Paris Review Daily. She is a citizen of the United States, Canada, and Israel.

Rebecca wanted the narrative of “City of a Thousand Gates” to be shaped by all the ways there are to think about Israel. Each of the characters is written from the inside, and through what they care the most deeply about. The result ends up being a panoply of characters which shape a narrative in a world filled with conflict. The method is a full range of human impulse and psychological realism.

Her life in Israel and her glimpses of what life is like in Palestine always appeared to be shadowing one another. Any time she was in a moment, during some nationalist or religious holiday, she would simultaneously be imagining it like somebody that was excluded or erased by this same narrative.

She began writing the novel before she realized she was writing fiction, and feels like she and the novel have grown up together. She took about eight years to write the novel.

Rebecca makes her writing feel real by making the process of generating the material a super physical one. She writes longhand during the first draft, often sentence by sentence on small sheets of paper, and then pins them onto a clothesline on the wall. She physically moves with these ideas, they are not only trapped in her computer. That has always been incredibly important to her, however especially so now when her family life, love life, and her religious life is all on her screen. Then she types it all up and prints it out, and cut out each one of the paragraphs and tack this up on the wall.

During grad school, as she wrote the novel, this setup with mini pins and clotheslines was in her room, and she would wake up in her own brain and in her own book. It has a startling effect on her. She was dating an awesome woman, and when she came over for the very first time was horrified because Rebecca hadn’t taken down this weird thing and she was sure to think that she had just walked into some serial killer’s den.

Her debut required her to inhabit experiences that were vastly different than her own. In order to do so, she got help from several sources, sending off different sections about IDF reserve duty to her Israeli friends and hiring one Palestinian grad student to read and then critique other segments on life in the West Bank. Still, embedded within the novel is a critique in its very project, which is a sense of doubt that outsiders can potentially add a lot to the Israeli-Palestinian discourse.

She needs the basics to write, which are a table with a chair and a room that has a door. Rebecca is unable to work in a cafe, as writing is something that feels a bit obscene to her and always has. She likes having little oddities all around her. She collects shells and stones, and kills then revives plants.

Rebecca’s debut novel, called “City of a Thousand Gates”, was released in the year 2021.

“City of a Thousand Gates” is the first stand alone novel and was released in the year 2021. Introducing a large cast of characters from different backgrounds in a setting where violence is just a routine thing and survival is defined primarily by walls, checkpoints, and boundaries which force people to love and live across and within them.

A college student named Hamid has entered into Israeli territory illegally to work. Rushing past some soldiers, he bumps right into a German journalist, named Vera, who is headed to Jerusalem. She is going there in order to cover a story about Salem, who is a Palestinian boy beaten into a coma by a group of some revenge seeking Israeli teens.

While on her way to the hospital, she runs in front of this car that manages to just miss hitting her. The driver is named Ido, a new dad that is traveling with his American wife and their child. Ido is distracted by his thoughts of this young Jewish girl murdered by some terrorist that infiltrated her settlement. Ori, who is a nineteen year old soldier from some settlement nearby, guards this checkpoint between Jerusalem and Bethlehem through which Samar, Hamid’s professor, has to pass through.

These different strands open up this haunting and magnificent novel of modern day Palestine and Israel, and follows each of these diverse characters while they attempt to protect what they love. Their interwoven tales reveal painful and complex truths about life in this conflicted land which is steeped in love, terror, hatred, hope, and blood and every side.

This novel brilliantly evokes some of the universal drives which motivate all of these individuals to act and think like they do: desires for freedom, security, dignity, for the future of one’s kids, for land which each one of us, no matter where or who we are, share and recognize.

Rebecca is an extraordinarily gifted author whose compassion, skill, and brilliance on both the tension and sentence level rise up to meet her ambition. She constantly has you on edge, and this novel makes a convincing case for literature of multiplicity, both clamorous and polyphonic. This novel showcases the tragedy, humanity, and complexity of living in the West Bank. These characters’ interwoven lives are going to stay with the reader well after finishing the denouement of the novel.

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