Rabinyan, Dorit 1972-
RABINYAN, Dorit 1972-
PERSONAL: Born 1972, in Kefar-Saba, Israel; daughter of Zion and Yaffa Rabinyan. Education: Graduated from high school. Religion: Jewish. Hobbies and other interests: Music, cinema.
CAREER: Journalist and writer. Am-Oved Publishers, Tel Aviv, Israel, staff member. Military service: Israeli Army, journalist for two years.
AWARDS, HONORS: Izhac Vinner Award for literature, 1994; best drama of the year award, Film Academy Awards, 1997; Simtat ha-shekediyot be-'Omerig'an named one of best fifty novels written in the Jubilee, 1997; Jewish Wingate Wuarterly Award, 1999; Prime Minister's Prize.
Simtat ha-shekediyot be-'Omerig'an (novel), Am Oved (Israel), 1996, translation by Yael Lotan published as Persian Brides, Brazilier (New York, NY), 1998.
Ha-Hatunot Shelanu (novel), Am Oved (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1999, translation by Yael Lotan published as Our Weddings, Bloomsbury (London, England), 2001, published as Strand of a Thousand Pearls, Random House (New York, NY), 2001.
Also author of Shuli's Fiance (teleplay), 1997. Simtat ha-shekediyot be-'Omerig'an has been published in Greece, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands.
ADAPTATIONS: Persian Brides adapted to audio format by Sefarim Medabrim Co. (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1997.
SIDELIGHTS: Israeli author Dorit Rabinyan saw her first novel published when she was twenty-four years old. Two years later her book was translated from its original Hebrew and published in the United States under the title Persian Brides.
Set in the Jewish quarter of a turn-of-the-century Persian village called Omerijan, Persian Brides paints a moving portrait of the Ratoryan family. In the temperamental Ratoryan family marriage and childbirth—the birth of a son is preferable—are of paramount importance. News of a girl's first menstruation, for example, warrants a public announcement from the rooftop and by carrier pigeon, and mothers are in the habit of inspecting their girls' private parts to see if they are still virgins. Flora, a fifteen-year-old member of the Ratoryan family, is quite pregnant. This condition seems attractive to Nazie, Flora's eleven-year-old orphaned cousin who lives with the Ratoryan's. Flora is married to a no-good cloth merchant, but this doesn't deter Nazie, who is quite taken with Flora's brother Moussa. When Flora's husband abandons her, Flora sings herself hoarse at night and Nazie, waiting for her own marriage to Moussa, consoles her.
The action in Persian Brides takes place over the course of two days. In this concentrated period of time, Rabinyan lends to Persian Brides "the feel of a nightlong wedding feast," according to New York Times reviewer Michael Lowenthal. Lowenthal described the novel as "lush, lyrical, and disturbing," adding that "Rabinyan grounds her themes of sexual politics in scenes mingling exotic beauty and gritty horror…. She writes with the wise and leisurely assurance of a town bard." Booklist contributor Nancy Pearl called Rabinyan's novel an "earthly and sensual fairy tale" while a Publishers Weekly contributor commented that the novel "tells one poignant, bewitching story after another, seducing us with vivid language and tales of deception, devotion, and magic." The Publishers Weekly contributor concluded, "Rabinyan's brisk, fetching prose expertly summons a long-vanished land and renders it dazzling and delicious."
Rabinyan told CA: "I am happy that Israeli literature, as with my novel, is welcomed so warmly by American readers."
Rabinyan's second novel, Ha-Hatunot Shelanu was published in England as Our Weddings and in the United States as Strand of a Thousand Pearls. This time Rabinyan focuses on the Azizyans, a Persian Jewish family, and the problems of their five children. Despite raising their children with love and strong parental direction, the Azizyans made one mistake. Based on their own passionate experience with each other, the parents teach their children that most of life's problems are solved by marriage. The young Azizyans, however, find that is far from true as they suffer from a variety of problems, including mental disorders, sexual addiction, and an uncaring husband. Penelope Mesic, writing in Book, commented that "this is a book with the power to make the commonplace precious." A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that the novel "has many good moments." Courtney Lewis, writing in Kliatt, commented, "The flavors of Persian cooking waft out of this volume to tantalize while the psychological turmoil of each family member disturbs the reader."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Book, July-August, 2002, Penelope Mesic, review of Strand of a Thousand Pearls, p. 79.
Booklist, February 1, 1998, Nancy Pearl, review of Persian Brides, p. 900; December 1, 1999, review of Ha-Hatunot Shelanu, p. 690.
Christian Science Monitor, March 10, 1998, Merle Rubin, review of Persian Brides, p. 14.
Entertainment Weekly, May 1, 1998, Daneet Steffens, review of Persian Brides, p. 58.
Hungry Mind Review, summer, 1998, review of Persian Brides, p. 14.
Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 1997, review of Persian Brides, p. 1804; May 15, 2002, review of Strand of a Thousand Pearls, p. 705.
Kliatt, November, 2003, Courtney Lewis, review of Strand of a Thousand Pearls, p. 18.
Library Journal, January, 1998, Molly Abramowitz, review of Persian Brides, p. 144; April 1, 2002, Yvette W. Olson, review of Strand of a Thousand Pearls, p. 142; November 15, 2002, review of Persian Brides, p. 128.
Los Angeles Times, June 23, 2002, review of Strand of a Thousand Pearls, p. 12.
New Internationalist, July, 2000, review of Persian Brides, p. 31.
New Yorker, June 22, 1998, review of Persian Brides, p. 150.
New York Times Book Review, March 15, 1998, Michael Lowenthal, review of Persian Brides, p. 27; October 1, 2000, review of Persian Brides, p. 28.
Observer (London, England), May 28, 2000, review of Persian Brides, p. 14; August 5, 2001, review of Our Weddings, p. 16.
Publishers Weekly, January 12, 1998, review of Persian Brides, p. 45; March 18, 2002, review of The Strand of a Thousand Pearls, p. 72.
Spectator, August 29, 1998, review of Persian Brides, p. 32.
Times Literary Supplement, August 24, 2001, Heather Clark, review of Our Weddings, p. 22; March 31, 2002, review of Our Weddings, p. 16.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), August 10, 2003, review of Strand of a Thousand Pearls, p. 6.
Random House Web site, http://www.randomhouse.com/ (July 28, 2003), includes interview with author.
Source, http://www.thesourceisrael.com/ (September 28, 2003), brief quote from author.