Genre: Historical novel
Date Published: September 10, 2018
The turbulent events in Europe of the first half of the 20th century find Marek fighting successive obstacles fate places in his way. A descendant of a family of physicians, Marek demonstrates extraordinary resourcefulness and imagination, persistently creating his own path towards completing his studies and building his life.
Max is a well-known filmmaker whose life story parallels that of the development of the cinema worldwide, starting from its earliest stages. The heroines are ambitious, each one in her way, their love stories undergoing huge upheavals both due to personal reasons as well as a result of the stormy times. The characters, based in part on real persons, find unconventional paths leading them, against all odds, to lives of fulfilment.
Paths in the Storm is a fascinating historical novel, depicting the personal stories and great loves of four generations of two families which are entwined with the major historical developments of the century, often regarded from less known perspectives. The rapid sequence of events unfolds across Europe from Switzerland through Poland, France, and the Soviet Union. Connections from different worlds bring together people of science and medicine, finance, diplomacy as well as art and bohemia and, on the other side, descendants of a well-known rabbinic dynasty.
Guest Post by Ilana Maor
Most of my life I have been living in Haifa, Israel. I am married and have two children and five grandchildren. I have a Ph.D. in Chemistry and have been working in science ever since. Through the years, I have worked at the Technion, Haifa, the European Union and the Israeli Innovation Authority.
From childhood I have been active in music – playing the piano and singing. I play chamber music with musicians of the Haifa University and sing in a small ensemble. I have been a very fast reader from childhood and usually read more than a book per week, mainly at night. Over the years I took courses in creative writing but never thought I would write a book. While in mourning after my parents, friends asked me about their lives and when I told some of the family history they said: “What a drama, you must write a book”. I did not pay attention at that time. It took a few years to start thinking about the idea, especially after publishing my first book of poems.
Then it took some more time of historical/geographical research to start the actual writing. Some of the real characters in the book I found in Wikipedia. This was a great surprise for me, and it also helped build their story. My husband and I travelled to Basel, Warsaw, Pisa, and Bordeaux to follow the paths of the main characters during the first half of the 20th century. This was an adventure I would never forget. In 2013, we
met in Bordeaux with the professors of the Polyethnic, where my father finished his engineering studies with honours, just before Word War II. The week with them was unforgettable, and the pictures we took are still circulating constantly on the digital picture frame in our living room.
These meetings gave me a real push to continue writing and reach the ending.
Some of my inspiration came from Ken Follett’s 20th Century Trilogy. He has the special talent of telling a family saga, while also describing so beautifully historical events, happening simultaneously in many places.
Sometimes when I think of the hardships that the characters had to overcome, I am really unable to comprehend how they still had strong willpower and energy to build such family lives and also achieve so much professionally.
Returning to the past and even learning more about it while researching and writing the book, brings me even closer to my own family, husband, children, and grandchildren. This terrible story makes us appreciate life, love, family, and friends. It also makes me to appreciate more life in a democratic country, where one can feel free, have the right to their own opinion, the right to choose their profession, and their path in general.
I really hope you love my book which had been written in five years, between my work and family duties, and cost me many tears as the narrative developed, both of sadness and joy.
About the author:
Dr. Ilana Maor’s Paths in the Storm, now available in English, received enthusiastic reviews for its original Hebrew edition. The book has been recommended by Haaretz (premier Israeli newspaper), Haifa News and many other local papers in Israel. Some of the additional readers’ praises: “One of the best books I have read about this period…”. “Captivating. Wholeheartedly recommend it.” “Amazing story, full of events…touches every one of us…”. “The writer’s epic ability makes the story delightful and fascinating… Very recommended”. (Nuritha – Israel’s largest website for literary critics).
Maor was born in Germany and has lived most of her life in Israel. The novel was inspired by extraordinary lives of some real people on the background of the historical events that deeply affected them. She holds a master’s degree from the Weizmann Institute of Science and a PhD from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Chemistry. She managed the Departments of Scientific Relations and Intellectual Property at the Technion and in recent years is the proprietor of a private consultancy firm for international scientific ventures as well as evaluating new projects for the European Union and for the Israel Innovation Authority.
Since she was a child, Maor has been attracted to literature, music and the arts and has studied poetry and fiction. In 2012, Maor published a book of poems Trifles of Love, which earned outstanding reviews. Paths in the Storm is her second book.
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