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Ariel Sabar's My Father's Paradise

  

One of the talented people to leave the ProJo over the last decade is Ariel Sabar, who decamped in 2001 for a job with the Sun of Baltimore. Sabar, a 1993 grad of Brown, has a new book out, My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for his Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq, published by Algonquin Books. I received a publicity copy yesterday and it looks like a great read.

Press materials describe how Ariel's father, Yona,

was among more than 120,000 Iraqi Jews airlifted from their homeland in the 1950s in one of the world's largest and least-known diasporas. From the slums of Jerusalem to the streets of Los Angeles, Yona achieved the American dream, graduated from Yale and became a distinguished professor at UCLA. He is now a leading and sought-after expert in Aramaic (featured in an April 2008 New York Times article on "The Language of Jesus").

Growing up American, the author turned his back on his father and his immigrant ways. But as an adult with a family of his own, Ariel became curious about his father's life and sought to reclaim his heritage, so the two decided to travel back to Yona's tiny hometown of Zakho.

Asked what he has been up to of late, Sabar writes via e-mail:

I left The Sun in fall 2004 and moved with my family to Maine, where I spent two and a half years holed up in an 1830s farmhouse writing the book. For research, I traveled across America, to Israel and finally to Iraq to piece together the story of my father’s family. In April 2007, I accepted a contract job covering the 2008 presidential campaigns out of the DC buro of The Christian Science Monitor. Originally, the book was going to be published in November, which would have allowed me to cover the campaigns through election day before heading out on book tour. But my publisher moved the pub date up to September. So I left The Monitor a couple months early for the book tour, which is now just starting.

Sabar is scheduled to make a Brown University Bookstore appearance at 4 pm on Thursday, October 23. For more details on his book tour, click here.

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