Shames, Germaine W.
SHAMES, Germaine W.
PERSONAL: Born in Newark, NJ. Education: University of Houston, B.S. (summa cum laude); School for International Training (Brattleboro, VT), M.A.; Georgetown University, certificate in intercultural training; Westland Institute, certification in clinical hypnotherapy.
ADDRESSES: Home—Arizona and London, England. Agent—Kathleen Anderson, Anderson Grinberg Literary Management, Inc., 266 West 23rd St., No. 3, New York, NY 10011.
CAREER: Foreign correspondent and fiction writer.
(Editor with W. Gerald Glover) World Class Service, Intercultural Press (Yarmouth, ME), 1989.
Transcultural Odysseys: The Evolving Global Consciousness, Intercultural Press (Yarmouth, ME), 1997.
Between Two Deserts: A Novel, MacAdam/Cage (San Francisco, CA), 2002.
Essays and short stories appear in anthologies. Has published articles in National Geographic Traveler, Hemispheres, Troika, Blue, Rotarian, and Byline.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Hotel Noir, a novel tracing the decline of literary culture; The Echo Year, a novel set in France that explores resurgent ultra-nationalism sparked by the development of a European identity.
SIDELIGHTS: Germaine W. Shames is a former foreign correspondent who has reported on issues including aboriginal land rights and threats to the Amazon region. As a reporter, she has focused on grassroots movements and stories of heroism by common individuals. Shames worked for a news service in Israel during the early days of the Intifada, or Palestinian uprising in the late 1980s, and was living in Jerusalem's Muslim quarter at the time. Disappointed by her inability to reflect the political dynamic she found in her surroundings, she was inspired to write her first novel, Between Two Deserts. This story about the complicated coexistence of Muslims, Christians, and Jews is the author's call for peace.
The central figure in Between Two Deserts is Eve Cavell, an American of Jewish heritage who comes to Jerusalem to fulfill her late grandfather's wish. Eve, however, is unprepared for the political realities and social taboos of the vibrant but war-torn city. When she rents a room in the Muslim quarter, her unconventional behavior draws attention. Eve interacts with a diverse array of characters, including an elderly Hungarian writer who sees Eve as his muse, an Australian evangelist, an Israeli Shin Bet officer, and a handsome Palestinian who becomes her lover. Despite the dangers of her surroundings, Eve is captivated by her new home.
Shames received praise for her ability to create a vivid picture of Jerusalem and the troubles of those who live there. A Kirkus Reviews writer called her novel "evocative" and "richly textured," while a Publishers Weekly writer noted how surprisingly subtle the novel is for its genre, calling it "a tightly executed, emotion-filled work" and "a timely book of modest beauty."
Shames told CA: "I write listening for the still, small voice, trusting it to tell a story that is at once gut-honest and ennobling."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2002, review of Between Two Deserts, p. 838.
Publishers Weekly, July 29, 2002, review of Between Two Deserts, p. 52.