Sunday, November 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Local Israeli-American author’s memoir recounts ‘dual life’

Karen Levy of Davis has published a memoir that reflects on Israeli-American life. Courtesy photo

By
From page A3 | April 03, 2013 |

Who: Karen Levy, presenting her memoir, “My Father’s Gardens”

When and where: 7 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at International House, 10 College Park, and 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 26, at The Avid Reader, 617 Second St.

For some, there is a contrast in persona at work versus what it is at home, or around family and with friends, or with a significant other and without. Then there’s the about-face when in a different country.

Karen Levy, who lives in Davis with her husband and two children, recounts having to make that change during an immigrant experience in “My Father’s Gardens.” The 46-year-old Israeli-American writer spent four years composing the memoir; it’s finally been published.

The memoir is pieced together with vignettes, short chapters that detail snippets of her life. Levy described the experience of reading it as being like flipping through a photo album, peeking at the early memories that span the life of someone else.

She was born in Israel, but spent her kindergarten and first-grade years in America. Then she traveled back to Israel and came back to the U.S. again. She was constantly commuting between the two countries, as her father was a visiting professor in the UC Davis psychology department.

Her parents separated when she was young, and they lived in different countries. Consequently, she had to leave behind friends and relatives each time she moved from one side of the world to the other.

“It’s a dual life, really,” she explains. “From having to switch gears and speak a totally different language, and gain enough power in that language to voice what I wanted to voice, to split loyalties into what country my allegiance lay.”

That latter point was exacerbated by the fact that she had served as a sergeant in Israel’s military for two years after graduating from high school in 1984.

Following her military service, Levy pursued studies in America. She earned a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from UCD before graduating with a master’s in English from Sacramento State, where she now teaches composition and interpretation of literature.

“I teach Americans to hopefully realize what an amazing language they have,” she says. “It’s kind of ironic that as an immigrant — with this being my second language — I get to introduce them to something they’ve always had.”

As a professor, Levy chooses novels for her classroom with themes that hold significance to her life — mainly identity, and all the things that go into creating it.

Her memoir may provide its readers with its own set of lessons: what it truly means to live life as an Israeli.

“Israel is in the news quite a bit, and not always for all the good reasons,” she says. “I’m hoping that it will shed some light on life in Israel, and how it’s not so different than anywhere else.

“People get up, go to work or school, have families. Once in a while they are reminded that they’re surrounded by enemies. … Aside from that, to me it sometimes feels like a safer place than here.”

“My Father’s Gardens” is being released Saturday by Homebound Publications, and a book launch is scheduled for Saturday, April 20, at International House, 10 College Park in Davis.

Levy also will give a reading and sign copies of her book on Friday, April 26, at The Avid Reader, 617 Second St. in downtown Davis. That’s something she never envisioned having to do at the beginning of this four-year project.

Originally, Levy had not intended her recollections from the past to be more than a personal reflection, but she decided to plan a book when nudged in the direction of publication by a friend. Her hope now is for her words to resonate with others:

“There were a few people who read or heard pieces of it while I was writing it — as I introduced it to others to get a feel for how people would react,” she says. “It seemed to hit a chord, regardless of the fact that it’s a world away.

“I guess there’s something universal about this need to belong, to find home. … The people with an immigrant experience will certainly relate, but its themes will hopefully resonate with all kinds of audiences.”

— Reach Brett Johnson at bjohnson@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    Need for local foster parents grows

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

    Tactical robot decreases officer risks

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Hollywood readies its big guns for the holidays

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Couple arrested on drug, firearm possession charges

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Woman confronts suspicious follower

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Bob Dunning: Signs, signs, everywhere a sign

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

     
    For the record

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Berkeley, Santa Cruz students protest fee hikes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Breakfast with Santa tickets are going fast

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Auction-bound student artwork stolen in downtown heist

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    UCD awarded $100M to lead program to predict, prevent pandemic threats

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Probationers, parolees graduate from Yolo transitional program

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Free boot camp, yoga fundraiser this week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Enterprise observes holiday hours

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Bell-ringers still needed this holiday season

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Give blood and get a free movie ticket

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Thanksgiving feast is open to all

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Workshop will answer financial aid questions

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    At the Pond: Stop, look and listen

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Round up at the registers for Davis schools

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Yolo Food Bank invites locals to run with the flock

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Museum announces holiday schedule

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Project Linus seeks donations

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    Swing your partner!

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A6

    Fairfield School enjoys a festive feast

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Right at home: gifts you can use and use up

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

    Dec. 10 jeans drive benefits STEAC

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A9

     
    Davis Community Church history recounted in Sunday talk

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Open your heart

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Bob Hope interview pulled from ‘the vault’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

    .

    Forum

    There’s only one way to fix this

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Students barking up the wrong tree

    By Our View | From Page: A14

    Rick McKee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A14

     
    Heartbroken over treatment of teacher

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

    Google, tell me. Is my son a genius?

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A14

     
    Daryl Cagle cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A15

    Cordial political discourse: Seven years later, the thoughts resonate

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

     
    Easing the stress during college application season

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

    Watch out for holiday weight gain

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A16

     
    When the computer stares back

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A16

    How I want to be remembered

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A16

     
    .

    Sports

    Turnovers costly as UC Davis loses Classic, 41-30

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie men finish off Furman

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Upset-minded Lions bounce UCD from WWPA tourney

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    New, old-look helmets not enough to lift UCD footballers

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Late shot sinks Aggie women

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD roundup: Seniors play well in Aggie volleyball loss

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    With volleyball playoff berth, DHS accomplished its 2014 goal

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B6 | Gallery

     
    Wire briefs: Kings get past depleted T-Wolves

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

     
    Don’t pass up the parking gift downtown

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A13

    Doby Fleeman: Give thanks for our innovation culture

    By Doby Fleeman | From Page: A20

     
    Honey, spreads showcased at open house

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A20

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, November 23, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8