The Search for Sana – Richard Zimler

The Search for Sana – Richard Zimler

Book Review of The Search for Sana by Richard Zimler

Richard Zimler takes leave from his wonderful Kabbalistic fiction in The Search for Sana, and leads us into a living embodiment of the Middle East conflict in this story about two women, one Palestinian, one Israeli.  Sana and Helena were brought up together as neighbours and close friends, and kept in touch all their lives.  

Zimler recounts a meeting with Sana, which leads him on a quest to uncover the life histories of the two women, and on the way exploring the tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, and the terrible conflicts which tear families and friends apart and lead to major acts of carnage, whether sponsored by the state or by terrorists.

The book takes the form of a personal investigation by Zimler into a death and the reasons for it, and we follow him through a winding quest, meeting a wide range of people along the way in many different locations.

Evidence is uncovered bit by bit, and as the story unfolds we find ourselves drawn into a place where nothing is as it seems, and the denouement is a shocking interpretation of the attack on New York’s Twin Towers.

Zimler shows his customary desire to understand motives and to get beneath the skin of alienated and disaffected people – for peace and reconciliation can only be achieved through understanding, as has been demonstrated in South Africa, Rwanda and Northern Ireland.  

This book shows that the roots of atrocities can usually be traced back to acts of acts of smaller-scale injustice.  So often, a personal story is more effective than a political diatribe and this book has the potential to enlighten anyone who has a knee-jerk reaction to the Arab/Israeli conflict.