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About the Author: Margot Singer

Margot Singer is a graduate of the University of Utah (Ph.D. 2005), Oxford University (M.Phil.1986) and Harvard University (B.A. 1984). From 1986 until 1997 she worked for the management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, where she was a Principal in the New York Office. She currently teaches at Denison University, where she holds the Bosler Endowed Faculty Fellowship, and in the low-residency MFA program at Queens University in Charlotte, NC. She lives with her husband and two children in Granville, Ohio

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Goodreads rating: 3.86

Paperback, Published in Oct 2008 by University of Georgia Press

ISBN10: 082033331X | ISBN13: 9780820333311

Page count: 232

In settings from Jerusalem to Manhattan, from the archaeological ruins of the Galilee to Kathmandu, The Pale of Settlement gives us characters who struggle to piece together the history and myths of their family’s past.This collection of linked short stories takes its title from the name of the western border region of the Russian empire within which Jews were required to live during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Susan, the stories’ main character, is a woman trapped in her own border region between youth and adulthood, familial roots in the Middle East and a typical American existence, the pull of Jewish tradition and the independence of a secular life.

In “Helicopter Days,” Susan discovers that the Israeli cousin she grew up with has joined a mysterious cult. “Lila’s Story” braids Susan’s memories of her grandmother--a German Jew arriving in Palestine to escape the Holocaust--with the story of her own affair with a married man and an invented narrative of her grandmother’s life. In “Borderland,” while trekking in Nepal, Susan meets an Israeli soldier who carries with him the terrible burden of his experience as a border guard in the Gaza Strip. And in the haunting title story, bedtime tales are set against acts of terrorism and memories of a love beyond reach. The stories of The Pale of Settlement explore the borderland between Israelis and American Jews, emigrants and expatriates, and vanished homelands and the dangerous world in which we live today.

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