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Ivory From Paradise

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3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  30 ratings  ·  8 reviews
A Jewish family of South African expatriates is torn by emotional conflicts and a battle over possessions, revealing their illusions about the past and the realities of life in South Africa post Nelson Mandela.
Hardcover, 348 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Chicago Review Press
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Community Reviews

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Sarah
Schmahmann has done it again. In this gorgeously crafted and lusciously written tale of a family forced to face their past, Schmahmann's complex characters--already familiar to those who've read Empire Settings--shine as they confront the ugly truths of apartheid in South Africa, and the difficulties found in navigating family dynamics. Schmahmann is a masterful storyteller. Read these books; you won't regret it.
Gail
This is the sequel to Empire Setting. This book continues the story of a South African family who left during Apartheid.The story deals with memory of a certain time from various perspectives.One of the highlights is when the narrator asks the son of the maid what he had thought of them.

It is not necessary to read the first book, Empire Settings, in order to understand and fully be absorbed by this insightful novel.
Dr Penner
Although not necessarily a strict-sequel (you don’t have to read Empire Settings to enjoy the book), I’m glad that Schmahmann chose to bring back some of the characters for Ivory From Paradise. Again, partially set in South Africa, the book holds a similar historical background but a whole new story about family and the past. I would recommend reading Empire Settings first but it’s not a requirement.
MaryAnn
This could have been a good story. I tried really hard to enjoy it but kept finding myself asleep only a few pages from where I had picked up last. I managed to make it to the end, and there certainly were some redeeming qualities, but, in all, I think the events could have been told in a more interesting manner.
Nancy Kekst
This was a wonderful book about a Jewish family from South Africa and the course of their lives. It was written backwards, from the end to the beginning and back to the end. Very short chapters. But I COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN THE LAST 100 PAGES, and I love a book like that!
Lisa
It's almost as if the author didn't quite know how to make a full book out of this sequel to Empire Settings. The story is drawn out and doesn't serve much of a purpose, though it was nice to see the familiar characters again.
Avary
Even though Mary Ann didn't like it, I want to look at it!
I liked it -- partly because I compared it to "The Help," having just seen the movie. Challenging similarities.
Linden
The aftereffects of apartheid in South Africa as experienced by a wealthy family and their maid and her family. Concerns a valuable African artifacts collection.
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Has South Africa Changed So Much? 1 8 Mar 21, 2011 05:47AM  
Life in South Africa after apartheid 1 2 Feb 08, 2011 08:37AM  
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David Schmahmann was born in Durban, South Africa. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Cornell Law School, and has studied in India and Israel and worked in Burma. His first novel, Empire Settings, received the John Gardner Book Award, and his publications include a short story in The Yale Review and articles on legal issues.

He practices law in Boston, and lives in Weston, Massachusetts.

More about David Schmahmann...
Empire Settings The Double Life of Alfred Buber Nibble & Kuhn: A Novel Ivory from Paradise De zondeval

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“Memory may be mischievous but it is also remarkable, self-cleaning, creative, ultimately as magical as a prediction.” 3 likes
“I wish we had left things undisturbed, exactly as they were and beneath whatever layers of silt had come to cover them, and yet I feel joy to be here.” 2 likes
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