"Serves up heaping portions of yearning, passion, alienation, and regret, and establishes Dana Shem-Ur as one of the rising stars of the new Israeli literature."—Joshua Cohen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Netanyahus
A piercing novel about life abroad in a cultural setting not one’s own: Reut is an Israeli translator living in Paris with a French husband and their child. She’s made sacrifices for her family but now feels a simmering discontent and estrangement that erupts at a festive dinner party with affluent, intellectual friends. During the sumptuous meal, she navigates a tangle of cultural codes with which she’s never been fully at ease. This is a novel about big life choices that examines a woman’s attitudes toward belonging to a man, to a culture, to a language. Where I Am is an intimate, witty book portraying a profoundly human yearning to stop everything, to lay down one’s head, and to feel—if only for a moment—at home.
Dana Shem-Ur lived in Paris for three years and obtained a master’s degree in philosophy from the École Normale Supérieure. She is a Ph.D. candidate in history at Tel Aviv University who translates from French, Italian, and Chinese into Hebrew.
Yardenne Greenspan has translated writing by Israeli authors including Shemi Zarhin, Yitzhak Gormezano-Goren, Rana Werbin, Yaakov Shabtai, and Gon Ben Ari.
"The poignant account of a translator struggling to translate herself into a multitude of uncomfortable roles in a language and culture not her own. Where I Am serves up heaping portions of yearning, passion, alienation, and regret, and establishes Dana Shem-Ur as one of the rising stars of the new Israeli literature."
—Joshua Cohen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Netanyahus
"Penetrating and incisive . . . Portraying the conflicts and multitudes of a woman inhabiting the very definition of a cosmopolitan life, Shem-Ur brilliantly encapsulates the alienations that pervade contemporary existence, tracing all the detritus of when an individual collides with place."
"Emotionally captivating and, at times, hilarious . . . Using sharp, witty, rich and intimate language, Shem-Ur creates a pervasive and almost omnipresent mood of unease . . . Where I Am speaks to the human desire simply to be understood."
—Santa Fe Reporter
"Where I Am establishes Dana Shem-Ur as an unconventional writer whose style and approach to emotionally taxing and psychologically challenging situations offer the literary world a new voice."
—Sage Cigarettes Magazine
"A mesmerizing meditation on displacement and belonging in relation to both places and relationships . . . Shem-Ur's daring debut is a wonder. Combining dark comedy and heartache, it is sensual and exquisitely written."
—Jewish Book Council
"Lush with the sights, sounds, food and the cultural minutiae of France . . . Where I Am excels at capturing the subtleties of language and the possibility of passion and intimacy as well as the textures of time, light and travel."
"A joy to read . . . I recommend it highly. It's really a crucial book for the now of Israeli identity."
—David C. Kraemer, author of Jewish Eating and Identity Through the Ages and Library Director of the Jewish Theological Seminary
"Where I Am is a phenomenally cinematic and sneaky novel. It simmers, meanders, and explodes. I recommend this book to anyone thinking about identity, culture, gender, and home. A unique work that reminds us what a novel can be."
—Chloe Caldwell, author of Women and The Red Zone
"In unfailingly elegant prose, Where I Am makes us peek at the consciousness of a foreigner who is herself trying to peek at the consciousnesses of French natives she treats with derision and anguish. It's a funny and poignant novel, strikingly resonant with the condition of foreignness plaguing so many around the world."
—Eva Illouz, author of Why Love Hurts and The End of Love
"A formidable, stirring, and beautifully written novel, spectacular in its ability to penetrate the souls of its characters, juggling love, power dynamics, and staggeringly human ambitions while offering an ironic examination of the social and cultural codes of our time."
—Nir Baram, author of World Shadow and Good People
“An impressive and mature debut about a woman's search for identity and for her place in life. Or rather, her places in life: in society, in her career, in her relationship, her motherhood, her body and her sexuality, as well as her actual geographical location. A pleasurable read.”
—Assaf Gavron, author of The Hilltop
“A beautiful debut novel, sensitive and fragile … with naughty touches and satirical stings.”