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All the Rivers

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  2,375 ratings  ·  385 reviews
A controversial, award-winning story about the passionate but untenable affair between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man, from one of Israels most acclaimed novelists

When Liat meets Hilmi on a blustery autumn afternoon in Greenwich Village, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Charismatic and handsome, Hilmi is a talented young artist from Palestine. Liat, an
Hardcover, 264 pages
Published April 25th 2017 by Random House (first published May 1st 2014)
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  2,375 ratings  ·  385 reviews

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Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A chance meeting in a New York City cafe. The push and pull of a love that cannot be denied.

Liat, an Israeli translator from Tel Aviv, has the opportunity to spend six months in Manhattan while working on her master's degree. Liat has served in the Israeli army. She defends Israel and justifies its politics. Liat misses the sea.

Hilmi, a gifted Palestinian painter from Ramallah, lives in Brooklyn,having entered the United States on an artist's visa. He cannot drive a car, shoot a gun or swim. He
Angela M
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing

An almost immediate attraction, feeling a connection - a lovely thing to happen to two young people away from their home countries in New York City. But it's complicated - she's Israeli and he is Palestinian. Complicated because of the politics, complicated because of loyalty they have to their families, but yet there are still many lovely moments in this relationship between Liat, a student translator and Hilmi, an artist. I couldn't help but root for them to be a couple, to stay a couple, in
Always Pouting
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Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"In the end all the rivers flow into the same sea"

This beautiful story of an Israeli women and Palestinian man, meet in New York and fall in love. There is a time limit on this love affair because the woman is going back to Israel the following May, and due to the fact that she is worried about her family finding out she is in a relationship with an Arab.
I just fell in love with this man named Himli. He gave her his entire self.

I was very invested in these characters and throughout the book I
Cathrine ☯️
Jul 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: group-challenge
This was one of those books where I ended up feeling like I should have liked it better than I did. GR besties gave it 5 stars and Im often on the same page they are but finished with readers remorse at my inability to fully embrace it.
A talented writer and timely subject matter but I could not connect well with the characters or how their story unfolded. Overall their relationship mirrored the societal/political issues at the root of the story which have no answers or hope on the near
Elyse  Walters
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ive owned this book for two years. I held off reading it - - making little logical sense-
but I knew All The Rivers, was going to be a temple book club pick for this coming Sunday, so I foolishly waited to read it.

Its an engaging easy fast novel to read: a love story between *Liat*, (a translator from Tel Aviv living in New York on a fellowship - with a six-month temporary visa).....
and *Hilmi*, (a Palestinian artist from Ramallah- also living in New York/Brooklyn).
This book will draw a heated
Jun 19, 2017 rated it liked it
I can't make up my mind how to rate this. Three of four stars is what I am debating between. I can praise so much about how this is written, but something is missing. Something is wrong. What is it that is troubling me? I am left with the feeling I should love it more than I do.

I will start with what I am sure of. The writing is beautiful. Descriptions of places are breathtakingly lyrical. Water and sky. What is outside one's window on a dark night and what is reflected in the glass. The feel of
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I normally gravitate towards reading biographies, but the premise of this story sparked my interest immediately: a Romeo & Juliet type story of forbidden love, with the main players a Hebrew woman from Tel Aviv and a Palestinian man from Ramallah.

The story takes place in New York City, as both parties were transplanted there for different reasons. However, the young Hebrew woman Liat would only be in NYC for another five months before returning to Tel Aviv.

Liat and Hilmi's chance meeting
Feb 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps it's the translation but there was no feeling or passion as I read this story about a passionate relationship that was forbidden by circumstances. Perhaps it's because ways to make it work were obvious to me. Either way, it's a good story, but the writing didn't speak to me.
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: new-york, middle-east
All The Rivers is a beautifully written novel by Dorit Rabinyan. According to the book cover, All The Rivers became the center of a political scandal in Israel when the Ministry of Education banned the book from the high school curriculum.

Liat has come to New York in the autumn to house-sit for a childhood friend from Israel until the following spring. Studying for her masters degree at Tel Aviv University in linguistics, she is working as a translator. It is by chance that she meets Hilmi, her
Lolly K Dandeneau
Feb 08, 2017 rated it liked it
via my blog
I just can. I can see youre a good girl.

I think about what my father would say about his good girl if he knew I was getting on a train with a strange man, an Arab, someone I only met a few hours ago.

Isnt it sad that there is so much hatred laid upon us, depending what side of the road, or a country we are born on? We are so very divided, and we forbid our loved ones happiness with another because of our political views, and even our ethnicity. It
Phyllis Krall
Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A controversial story about a love affair between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man that will tug at your heartstrings.
Liat, a translator, has left her home in Tel Aviv to study in New York for six months. She meets
Hilmi, an artist, who is a Palestinian from Hebron. The two fall in love, but realize that their is no future for them because of the disapproval they will receive from their families. Each day the couple spend together is a magical moment in time that they hope will never end.
Jayne Catherine pinkett
going to start this soon ad part of Read around the world on Melanie's channel. Mel's bookish adventures

I enjoyed this book to a certain extent. The premise and plot were very good. However I didn't feel emotionally attached. I liked the characters, however how their love was portrayed felt somewhat flat and mundane. sorry! Perhaps the atmosphere was lost in translation. None of us can help who we fall in love with, and this book does highlight how difficult it is for mixed religion
Sleepless Dreamer
Dec 26, 2019 rated it liked it
I had an idea of what this review would be like and then I read those last 10 pages and it all just flew out of the window. This is more like 3.5 stars but yeah.

First off, I absolutely have to acknowledge the wonderful job Jessica Cohen, the translator did. As a native Hebrew and English speaker, I assumed I would be able to feel that this isn't originally in English, that I'd be able to sense how the Hebrew was supposed to sound. That happened maybe once or twice. The rest of the time I felt
Book Riot Read Harder challenge task # 19: A book of genre fiction in translation.

Having read All the Rivers and discovering that it was autobiographical, I looked up the author's farewell letter to her Palestinian friend Hassan Hourani. While Rabinyan's letter was eloquent and moving, unfortunately her story did not translate as well into the novel format.

One technical aspect that slowed down the pace was the tremendous amount of description in the novel. I'm not sure if this was a result of
Davida Chazan
Heres a novel that was banned from Israeli High Schools because it is about a relationship between a Jewish Israeli woman and a Palestinian man. But dont let that stop you from reading this modern-day Romeo and Juliette story. Read why this book is forcing me to update my best of 2017 list, in my review here. ...more
Debby Hammer
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since I live in Israel I am biased. Netanya By the Sea is my home. Educated, hopeful and literary. This is an important book for our times. Many of you have traveled here with a group or on your own. This book will provide a different account.
May 21, 2018 marked it as dnf
Soooooo, I read about 172 pages of this book and couldn't see the end in sight. The premise of the story intrigued me: two people meet in New York and are swept into a whirlwind romance. But, the problem is the two young lovers are from Israel (Liat) and Palestine (Hilmi). The relationship is doomed from the beginning and yet, the two proceed to stay in one another's lives. Liat is certain that she can never truly be devoted to Hilmi. She makes sure that he is aware that they can never have a ...more
Oct 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading several reviews, I expected to love this novel about an Israeli woman and Palestinian man falling in love in New York City. I am interested in the conflicting political issues that the author raised through their doomed romance. But by the halfway point I was bored with Liat and Hilmi and tired of their circular arguments and kisses. Even the ending felt contrived.
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I must say that All The Rivers by Dorit Rabinyan has just altered my perception on what a 5-star rating means to me. This book.... this book is a masterpiece. It is truly a top notch, unbelievably flawless, unimaginably beautiful work of art. Dorit's writing is poetic and lyrical. The descriptions of locations, emotions, settings, etc. don't just make you see and feel the situations, they make you
Edward Robert Martin
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
When Liat meets Hilmi on a blustery autumn afternoon in Greenwich Village, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Charismatic and handsome, Hilmi is a talented young artist from Palestine. Liat, an aspiring translation student, plans to return to Israel the following summer. Despite knowing that their love can be only temporary, that it can exist only away from their conflicted homeland, Liat lets herself be enraptured by Hilmi: by his lively imagination, by his beautiful hands and wise ...more

We're not alone as we'd like to believe.Even in this huge city, far from home, even in this room, in this bed, it isn't just the two of us lying here. p168

In bed with the lovers are their disparate histories and convictions; politics and cultural differences that rise up and occasionally flare. In this brave and excruciatingly honest fiction, things are said that are usually only muttered under the breath. DR gets a star for this but I wish she would not have succumbed to stereotypes herself in
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to ☮Karen by: Publisher offered
An Israeli woman and a man from Palestine meet at a cafe in New York, and a relationship is born. There are constant reminders and stories regaled about "home" to instill the picture that, had these two met in their homeland, their reactions to each other would have been very different. Here in New York, the commonalities with which they can identify come out -- they are in NYC, post 9/11, on temporary visas, treated as foreigners, and both are dark olive skinned and looked at with suspicion. ...more
Kate Gardner
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liat is a translation student spending the academic year in New York City. She is practical and idealistic. Hilmi is a painter struggling for his artistic break. He is passionate and pessimistic. When they meet one day in a coffee shop there is instant attraction, but it also immediately clear that theirs wont be a straightforward courtship. Besides the fact that Liat has only six months left on her visa, theres the question of where she will be moving back to. Because she is from Israel and he ...more
Alison Hardtmann
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book
All the Rivers is the title given to the English translation of a novel by Israeli author Dorit Rabinyan which was banned from Israeli schools. It's the story of a relationship that forms between an Israeli translator working in New York on a temporary basis and a Palestinian artist. The story is interesting, but unremarkable except for their heritages. Liat reacts by hiding the relationship from her family and living under a fear of being seen by someone from back home whenever they are ...more
Keriann Davey
Now this book is beautifully. written and I felt like I learned a lot from it, however it wasn't to my taste, there is nothing wrong with the book at all but for me it was very boring in places, it was very description heavy which is something I.don't really like in books I prefer them to be plot heavy and fast moving, there isn't a huge amount to this story and its a very quiet romance.

That being said don't take my word for it as I know a lot if people will absolutely love this book for all the
Deirdre Metcalf
Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-reads
Amazing thought provoking read.
Holli Arnold
This is your typical Romeo and Juliette plot...except with an Israeli and a Palestinian who meet in NYC. I like the backdrop of NYC and that Hilmi was a driven and prolific painter...the descriptions were fantastic. The author does a good job exploring the ambivalent feelings of Liat...that she truly connects with Hilmi and loves him, but that their relationship is transient due to where they are from. When they move back to their respective families in the Middle East, there remains a sense of ...more
Marilyn Silver
Oct 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Poetic rendition of a challenging love between an Israeli Jew and a Palestinian in NYC. The relationship gently and clearly reflects the political conflict between Israel and Judea/Samaria/the Territories. This story has an autobiographical element, although fictionalized.
Ummu Auni
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book, read-2019
A book recommended by my sister. It flows easily. You can feel the feeling being giddy in love and get to see Israel & Palestine from both perspectives. A sad ending. But how else can you end a love story between a Palestinian and an Israeli
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Crossing cultural, political and religious lines 1 6 Jun 19, 2017 08:10AM  
Banned Books: Israeli Novel Removed From School Curriculum in Israel 13 82 Apr 15, 2016 09:36AM  

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Dorit Rabinyan is an Israeli writer and screenwriter.
She was born in Kfar Saba to an Iranian Jewish family. She has published three novels, two of which have been widely translated. She has also published a poetry collection and an illustrated children's book. She also writes for television.
She was a close friend of Palestinian artist Hasan Hourani, and wrote a eulogy for him in The Guardian after

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“How difficult it will be not to fall in love with him. How impossible, I thought worriedly, how tricky, to insist on not falling in love, to make my heart forget this strange, gentle man and this exciting night, to not get swept away. On the brink of sleep, enveloped in his breath, I thought how dangerous and complicated it would be, and how if I wasn't careful I might fall in love with him right at that very moment.” 1 likes
“How do I describe him now? Where do I start? How do I distill the first impression created in those few distance seconds? How do I extract his finished portrait, composed of layer upon layer of color, back into the pale, hasty pencil sketch that my eyes drew the first time they landed on him? How can I use a mere few lines to paint the whole picture with all its breadth and depth? Is it even possible to attain that sort of scrutiny, that measure of lucidity, when the hands of loss keep touching the memory, staining it with their fingerprints?” 1 likes
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