For Pity Sake Publishing

Sara Dowse’s ‘As the Lonely Fly’ Launch, Release and Review!

Sara Dowse’s latest novel As the Lonely Fly, was launched by For Pity Sake Publishing at Gleebooks on the 24th of June, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Arab-Israeli Six Day War. The launch of As the Lonely Fly was a huge success, and For Pity Sake would like to extent our thanks to Australian Academic and Historian, Professor Lyndall Ryan for officiating the event, as well as to Gleebooks for hosting the launch. Our biggest thanks goes to all the readers and supporters who attended the launch and made the day such a success.

The novel, a work of historical and political fiction which follows the story of three women as they offer their own unique perspectives on the creation of Israel and its impact on Palestine, has already begun to receive positive reviews from readers and reviewers alike.

“This arresting book offers perspective of the Arab-Israeli conflict through the eyes of three Russian-Jewish women who end up on different sides of the fence, literally. Their words and emotions shine a light on a dark landscape.”
The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG – Australian Jurist

“Idealism, heroism, despair, disillusionment, fading empires, sharpening dreams, shifting identities: they’re all hard at work in this grand novel of history and politics and, most of all, people, in the swirling decades before and after the creation of modern Israel. As Sara Dowse writes: ‘Time. And Place. And blood. What a potent combination.’ With her elegant, insightful prose as our guide it makes for a potent, absorbing novel.”
Peter Rodgers – Former Australian Ambassador to Israel
Author of Herzl’s Nightmare – One Land, Two Peoples.

“Sara Dowse’s novel is a search for the human truth of the long and terrible conflict that is Israel/Palestine. Through the lives of three women, so assiduously and movingly portrayed, we gain insight into one of the most intractable human rights issues of the post-war world.”
Rhyll McMaster

“Twenty-five years in the making, As the Lonely Fly represents the distillation of Sara Dowse’s talent. It is a work that unfolds with beauty and depth, magnificently imagined, sweeping in its scope and scale, like a classic Russian novel. This is writing of international importance, never sentimental, always in control, even in the passages that reveal evil at its basest and most banal. A poignant insight into the lives of three women whose personal lives are entwined in the creation of the modern Israeli state, As the Lonely Fly is, above all, an impassioned cry for humanity to heed the call of those still being displaced from their homelands.”
Robert Hefner – former Literary Editor of the Canberra Times

“As the Lonely Fly is a considerable accomplishment, an eloquent and urgent work of fiction by one of our most gifted writers.”
Mary Cunnane

“The adopted name of Chava, one of the main characters  of Sara Dowse’s ‘As The Lonely Fly’, means ‘life’, and this novel is indeed teeming with life, is what D. H. Lawrence called a ‘bright book of life’, even though, and in a way because of, Ir is immersed in the visceral and horrific events of the twentieth century. The Zionist project, one at once utopian and forced on world Jewry by persecution, is at the heart of this book, and we are given the mandate Palestine era in all its tumult and complexity. Dowse gives us the crucible of present-day Israel, not sparing the reader the reality of the oppression of Palestinian Arabs or the ideological blinders of Zionist zeal, but seeing the Jews who tried to build a nation from scratch as three dimensional figures, flawed agents who search and seek and fail. No recent novel has been at once as searing in its critique of political illusions but adamant about the permanence of political ideals, a form of witness all the more resonant because Dowse never forgets her characters are suffering and vulnerable and desiring creatures. This psychological penetration makes this the achievement of a lifetime. Dowse is one of Australia’s most ethically aware and politically sharp writers, and this book is the major, oeuvre-crowning and above all compelling story for which her devoted readers have been waiting.”
Nicholas Birns – New York University, author of Contemporary Australian Literature: A World Not Yet Dead.

“Sara Dowse has used her high level of skills as a writer, political commentator and analyst to tell the incredibly complex story of the foundation years of Israel through the eyes of three women. The feminist lens is still  rare in political histories and Sara pulls no punches exploring in detail the complexities of those who came to Palestine and created the state of Israel. She includes the deep political debates of socialist aims, religious beliefs, and international tensions of the period from the 1920s to the sixties. The research itself offers fascinating insights into the disagreements and tensions through the eyes of the related women who moved from revolutionary Russia to the Middle east and one to the USA. Reading the book is both compelling and a useful guide to the complexities and inequities of the past which are most relevant to the mess today!”
Eva Cox – Australian writer, feminist, sociologist, social commentator and activist

“As the Lonely Fly gives us a personal insight into major, and sometimes forgotten, events in the first half of the twentieth century. Three sisters travel from Odessa to Palestine and the United States seeking better lives. Clara, the idealist, commits herself to a Jewish state in Palestine before finding that communism is a greater guiding principle. Frieda and her family join her in Israel, while the youngest sister Marion goes to America with their parents. Dowse follows the fates of the sisters and Frieda’s daughter Zipporah, exploring the different societies and cultures they find themselves in. It is a complex and ambitious study of how individuals may be ready to risk their lives for utopian dreams—and a reflection on the way various utopias of the past have failed to deliver even a semblance of peace for ordinary people.  The novel moves from pre-revolutionary Russia to Palestine and back again to the purges of Stalin’s Soviet Union, as Clara falls victim to the political systems that held her hopes. Marion, moving from Nebraska to New York, experiences some of the garish pleasures of America and finds herself far from the worlds of her sisters in the Soviet Union and Israel in the 1940s. Dowse uncovers some of the complexity of the personal experiences that have made the crisis points in today’s world in a novel that insists that individuals can be active participants in history.”
Susan Lever – General Editor of the Cambria Press Australian Literature Series of Critical Books

“The past is not, in fact, the burden we thought, says Zipporah to Marion. It’s the future we need to worry about. Like all good ideas novelists, Dowse has not bombarded us with answers but, instead, has intelligently and compassionately given us plenty to think about.”
Sue Terry – Whispering Gums (Read the full review here!)

You can purchase your copy of As the Lonely Fly  from our website today.


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  1. Whispering Gums Reply

    So glad the launch went off well. Congratulations to Sara and the For Pity Sake team. I would love to have been there.

    I wish the book the success it deserves, as more people need to understand and think about the meaning of possession and dispossession of place, and about how dreams and ideals can sour when they are followed single-mindedly and selfishly.

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