Every Home Needs a Balcony

by Rina Frank

Interconnected chapters floating between past and present tell the story of Rina, a young Jewish girl, daughter of Romanian immigrants, growing up in poverty-stricken 1950s Haifa, and her life after she falls in love and marries a wealthy Spaniard. I loved the warmth and colour of everyday life seen through the eyes of the little girl from the balcony of their cramped apartment but sometimes wanted to give her a good slap as an adult!


Thursdays were the days on which the bedclothes were not put out to air; instead, the carpets were brought out and laid over the balustrade. After being left alone to soak up a few hours of dry, hot, and dusty hamsin air, the carpets were beaten with the cruelty they deserved, so as to be clean for Shabbat. As if by mutual signal, in unison, with a rhythm that sounded like the beat of tom-toms, all the ladies of Wadi Salib thrashed the living daylights out of the carpets as they hung over the balconies of their homes.
Translated by Ora Cummings


Mr Mani by A B Yehoshua
My Michael by Amos Oz

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