The Lemon Tree:
Author: Ilil Arbel
With the advent of self-publishing and the boutique or smaller publishing houses, there has been a proliferation of personal biographies and memoirs.
This is not necessarily bad omen, as narratives recounted by ordinary people are very often more engrossing than those pertaining to those of many well-known individuals, who may have lived during the same era and within the same geographical location.
Readers will recognize that there seems to be a more exacting blueprint of lives and experiences of these unknown individuals, as they probe into their own personalities and the events they encountered.
The Lemon Tree, authored by Ilil Arbel, is a remarkable example of this trend, wherein fortunately, the author did not miss the opportunity to take advantage of her mother, Ida Rosenfelds story telling skills, as she jotted down her mothers tales of the family`s journey during 1919 from their native home in Siberia to Israel, or as it was known at the time, Palestine.
The result is a brief yet gracefully written work that deftly captures the way events happened, as if the spirits are talking to us and reminding us never to forget where we came from in order to know where we are going.
Ilil`s admirable ear attuned to the rhythms of speech and her keen eye for images, vividly brings to life her mother`s narration of the death of the latter`s little brother Sasha, who, before his death, had planted a lemon seed in a flower pot, hoping one day to be able to transplant a lemon tree to Israel.
Most significantly, while facing persecution and immeasurable obstacles, Ida`s family, the Wissotzkys, exhibit immense courage, overcoming difficulties and pain, as they travel with their beloved lemon tree plant from Siberia through Manchuria, Shanghai, Port Said and eventually arriving in Israel.
Although, it is sometimes very difficult to exactly remember the past, you can still, to a certain extent, recreate it by re-entering and reliving it with your memoirs, images and imagination-thus leaving your descendants a treasured legacy. And herein lies the message of The Lemon Tree.