A memoir in essays by an award-winning Israeli writer who travels the world, from New York to India, searching for love, belonging, and an escape from grief following the death of her father when she was a young girl.
On the surface, The Art of Leaving is the result of the author’s personal journey through grief in the aftermath of her father’s passing. However, Tsabari expands her focus beyond this tragedy ... She offers insight into her identity as a Yemeni Jew of Mizrahi descent, the latter part of which she once rejected due to the prejudices against people of Mizrahi background in Israel. Interspersed between longer passages about her life, Tsabari includes anecdotes on racism, violence, family, and love ... deftly illustrates the ways home can be any or all of the above, simultaneously or at different times in our lives ... Tsabari packs a large amount of research and detail into her essays, yet there remains something lacking. Readers anticipating an in-depth examination of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, which acts as a backdrop in various parts of the memoir, will not find it. Tsabari writes about returning to Israel during the second intifada; suicide bombings made her feel uneasy in public spaces. But even here, the conflict feels lightly skimmed over, and the author displays what appears as a hesitance to tackle the subject on the page. This leaves a reader wanting more ... worthwhile in the way it addresses its central subject: the nature of home in the world. The book pushes readers to examine their own personal and political histories and to question the ways those histories fit into a bigger, global picture.