Dorit Rabinyan’s semi-autobiographical novel All the Rivers tells the love story of Liat from Israel and Hilmi from the West Bank, who meet in New York City’s storied Greenwich Village café shortly after September 11. Ali Velshi, MSNBC host and Citizen board member, brings the author to his Banned Book Club. Together, they explore the humanity that, in banning the title from its high school curriculum, the Israeli Education Ministry tried to ignore.
In a deeply emotional conversation, Velshi and Rabinyan discuss the importance of All the Rivers’ neutral backdrop of New York City, home to neither protagonist. But mostly, they talk about the role of literature has in understanding “the other,” a person or population you’ve grown up learning is so extremely different from you.
Says Rabinyan, “This is a huge gesture to know the other from within — to allow yourself to get near the stereotypes, near all those harmful interests that make us multitudes. We’re individuals, and only literature that can allow ourselves to see us as individuals … Think of the immense time and life experience — the imagination you invest in knowing the other from within while reading a book that depicts the other so intimately.”
Listen to Velshi and Rubinyan discuss All the Rivers:
Watch Velshi’s interview:
Velshi on banned books on MSNBC:
MORE ON BANNED BOOKS FROM THE CITIZEN
Ali Velshi with author of All the Rivers Dorit Rabinyan