I don’t normally read short story collections but lately have been making a point to include them on my shelf. The first collection I chose was The Best Place on Earth by Ayelet Tsabari and after the first story I knew I had chosen wisely.
This collection mainly takes place in Israel with connections to Canada. It tells the stories of many different characters of Israeli Mizrahi descent: soldiers, lovers, and travelers. The stories are global in scope and refreshing: I don’t think I have ever read a book about Mizrahi Jews.
My favourite stories were “Casualties” which was about a young female solider who forged medical leave forms to sell in secret. It was very racy and also very sad. “The Poets in the Kitchen Window” tells the tale of a young boy in Tel Aviv who wrote poetry during Operation Desert Storm and could never leave home without a gas mask due to the missiles.
If you are just starting out with short story collections like I was, The Best Place on Earth: Stories is a great place to start. Exciting and extremely human, these stories will touch you regardless of your background. At the very least, it will be a peek into a world that doesn’t have much representation in literature.
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