A series of synchronicities has led me to write this entry to my journal.
Later, I learned from my literary friend Margaret Patane of the imminent arrival of Mr. Zimler to Stockholm for the purpose of promoting The Search for Sana which had recently been translated into Swedish. Margaret, through her friendly connection with the Stockholm Public Library’s main branch and through her friendship with a person who is acquainted with the Swedish publisher of the book, became directly involved in Mr. Zimler’s presentation at Stockholms Stadsbiblioteket. The event was well attended, and quite fulfilling for me as a writer-in-training.
I have read many times of the need for a successful author to be “fearless.” Mr. Zimler fulfills this criterion. There was certainty in my nervous system that Richard, as he prefers to be addressed, is WYSIWYG: “What You See Is What You Get”. In answering the numerous questions proffered him after his fearlessly informative presentation, he seemed easily to consult, quickly, both his guts and his brains to give us honest, full responses. I felt I knew him, even without having had a private conversation with him. He confirmed for me what I saw of him in his Search for Sana, written in the first person and based in good measure on personal experience and research.
The other thing to say, before I move on to discuss another book by Zimler, is that Search for Sana, a good and valuable book, has not been published in the USA. I was astounded to learn this from Richard in his presentation, and I remarked in the Q&A session that it needs to be read in the USA. There is much lucidly presented in the book that is soulfully and factually instructive to both sides (as if there were only two) of issues and dilemmas facing Israelis and Palestinians. I wish I had the power to convince a USA publisher to look carefully at Search for Sana. His book was published in English by Constable & Robinson Ltd., of London.
The day after Richard’s presentation at the library, he appeared at Margaret’s English language bookshop to chat and sign additional books for sale, including his Hunting Midnight. I bought one of the signed copies of Hunting Midnight a few hours after Richard had left the bookshop, heading for Stockholm’s airport, Arlanda (ARN), to resume his travels.
There are reviews of the book available on the Internet, including this one. The reviewers are quite thorough so I will add only what I think may be a unique perception about it. This book, in addition to being suitable for adult readers, falls in great measure into the same realms as Uncle Tom’s Cabin and tales by The Brothers Grimm which books I read in my preteen years. None of the violence depicted in this book is gratuitous nor unduly detailed. There is no more violence or allusion to violence than is found in Grimm’s tales. Further, the parts depicting wickedness are balanced by loving, if sometimes difficult, relationships among the main and some secondary characters.
Richard Zimler has a unique voice in current literature. I look forward to reading his The last Kabbalist of Lisbon, a widely acclaimed book and one that has made him a celebrity in Portugal, his home for almost two decades. Richard was born on Long Island, New York.