Mois Benarroch

Brown Scarf Blues

Brown Scarf Blues

Ebook: 5.79 (2018 revised translation); Paperback: 9.95 (2015 translation)

Not long ago, Moroccan-Israeli poet Mois Benarroch asked me to translate his 2015 novella about a Sephardic writer seeking his roots and recalling a lost past. A 2018 revision of that translation is now available as an ebook. (The paperback is still the old version.)

Though it's from another publisher, it will appeal to some readers of the Between Wanderings Collection:

Reeling from the deaths of two loved ones, an Israeli writer travels to Spain—his ancestors' homeland—for a conference of Sephardic Jews. In Seville, he finds a scarf that comforts him for thirteen days. Then, just as suddenly, it vanishes in Madrid. The scarf becomes a symbol of loss: of goodbyes to things and people.

But just as he is letting go of his dreams, he meets a group of Spanish Jews who were lost in the Amazon for 150 years, whom he once wrote about in a novel. Did he merely make them up? Can imagination shape reality?

Narrated through many voices and viewpoints, Brown Scarf Blues spans countries—Morocco, Brazil, the United States and Israel—and languages—Hebrew, French, Spanish, Portuguese and especially Haketia: the Moroccan Judeo-Spanish speech that hangs on like a living-dead remnant of a vanished culture... the words and expressions left behind by a lost world.

In a short addendum, the author shares fragmented memories of his childhood in the Jewish community of Tetouan, Morocco.

[Pricing is accurate as of October 2018, but the publisher may change prices without advising us.]

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