Night Swimming in the Jordan — Yaara Lahav Gregory
1983. A kibbutz on the bank of the river Jordan. After a fateful protest march and on the eve of her wedding, a young woman leaves for England, never to return. Decades later, her daughter begins to uncover the devastating reality of her mother’s childhood in a social experiment that discarded family life in favour of the collective, but can the truth ever be recovered?
Spanning the years from 1967–2010, Night Swimming in the Jordan dives into what it means to grow up in someone else’s utopia, where the threat of war is ever present and relationships are coloured by ideology.
Praise for Night Swimming in the Jordan
Night Swimming in the Jordan is a beautiful, compelling and important novel, which explores the political landscape of 1970s Israel through the story of a young girl in a Kibbutz community. A heart-breaking love story told with a powerful sense of time and place, it shows the effect of dogma and religious conflict on individuals and families. In a world that seems torn apart by difference, this novel is both necessary and timely.
— Sophie Pierce, writer and broadcaster
This is a deeply satisfying read, an engaging depiction of a growing girl’s world infused with finely textured detail. The reader is plunged into Abbie’s life in the kibbutz, her first love affairs and her dawning realisation of political differences. It is a coming of age novel, a multi-generational saga, an exploration of the way in which ideology and nationalism can define individual lives. The cast of Night Swimming are so fully realised you can feel their blood flowing in your veins, share in their suffering and celebrate their small victories.
— Anna Lunk, author of Amie’s Rest
In Night Swimming in the Jordan Lahav Gregory opens the door on a world under-represented in fiction. Hers is a sensitive coming-of-age story told with real warmth about a young girl hungry to explore everything the world has to offer beyond the confines of the kibbutz. But as she begins to enjoy the thrills of first love, political unrest rumbles louder in the wings, and the events of one protest march will send shockwaves across the continent for decades to come.
— Delphine Gatehouse, editor, Daniel Goldsmiths Associates
A wise and daring novel that sensitively explores the Israeli-Palestinan conflict, told by Abbie, growing up on a kibbutz and drawn into the waters of youthful desire and politics. Swept along in the maelstrom that engulfs her family and friends as they struggle to find stability, it will be her daughter, Yasmin, who tries to unravel the past… Yaara Lahav Gregory sheds humane light on this important subject, which she understands because she has lived through it.
— Rebecca Gethin, poet and novelist
Yaara grew up in a Kibbutz in Israel, a socialist farming community on the banks of the river Jordan. After two years of compulsory military service in the Israeli Air Force she moved to Devon in the UK where she still lives. Yaara has spent many years as a teacher of both children and adults. She loves to swim in rivers and in the sea.