The Art of Leaving

A Memoir
Narrated by: Ayelet Tsabari
Length: 11 hrs and 14 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An intimate memoir in essays by an award-winning Israeli writer who travels the world, from New York to India, searching for love, belonging, and an escape from grief following the death of her father when she was a young girl.

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by Kirkus Reviews

This searching collection opens with the death of Ayelet Tsabari’s father when she was just nine years old. His passing left her feeling rootless, devastated, and driven to question her complex identity as an Israeli of Yemeni descent in a country that suppressed and devalued her ancestors’ traditions.

In The Art of Leaving, Tsabari tells her story, from her early love of writing and words, to her rebellion during her mandatory service in the Israeli army. She travels from Israel to New York, Canada, Thailand, and India, falling in and out of love with countries, men and women, drugs and alcohol, running away from responsibilities, and refusing to settle in one place. She recounts her first marriage, her struggle to define herself as a writer in a new language, her decision to become a mother, and finally, her rediscovery and embrace of her family history - a history marked by generations of headstrong women who struggled to choose between their hearts and their homes. Eventually, she realizes she must reconcile the memories of her father and the sadness of her past if she is ever going to come to terms with herself.

With fierce, emotional prose, Ayelet Tsabari crafts a beautiful meditation about the lengths we will travel to try to escape our grief, the universal search to find a place where we belong, and the sense of home we eventually find within ourselves.

Praise for The Art of Leaving

"The Art of Leaving is, in large part, about what is passed down to us, and how we react to whatever it is.... [It] is not self-help - we cannot become whatever we put our mind to - yet it suggests that we can begin to heal from what has broken us, if we only let ourselves.... Tsabari’s intense prose gave me pause." (The New York Times Book Review "Shortlist")

"Told in a series of fierce, unflinching essays...an Israeli Canadian author explores her upbringing and the death of her father in this stark, beautiful memoir." (Shelf Awareness starred review)

"The Art of Leaving will take you on an emotional journey you won’t soon forget." (Hello Giggles)

Candid, affecting...[Ayelet Tsabari’s] linked essays cohere into a tender, moving memoir." (Kirkus Reviews starred review)

©2019 Ayelet Tsabari (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Ayelet Tsabari’s memoir is a passionate account of the pain, fire, and fury of adolescence and young adulthood, the search for a sense of belonging, and reconciling the disparate parts of our lives and ultimately ourselves." (Camilla Gibb, author of This Is Happy and The Beauty of Humanity Movement)

"Ayelet Tsabari is a fierce-tender writer. Her work is an enchanting mix of vivid anecdote and vigorous insight - spanning generations and geographies, glittering with humor and heart." (Kyo Maclear, author of Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation)

"Ayelet Tsabari has written a beautiful, complex, and emotionally breathtaking memoir that captures and transcends her journey of self-discovery as a Jewish Yemeni woman within and beyond Israel’s borders. The Art of Leaving is a marvel of a book, at once tender and fearless, from a writer at the peak of her creative powers." (Kamal Al-Solaylee, author of Intolerable and Brown)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An Emotional Masterpiece

This is probably the best autobiography I have ever read/listened to. Ayelet Tsabari was so deep and nuanced in self evaluating her life story. While coming from a very different background, I found so many of her stories, emotions and even some traumas relatable and heart wrenching. Also she sheds a much needed light on the story of modern Mizrahi Jews in Israel. She is an amazing writer and I really enjoyed her narration too. I highly recommend this.

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Great!

Very interesting book. Learned so much about jews from Yemen. I enjoyed it very much.

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So good

A beautiful collection of stories from the author’s life. These colourful, intimate essays paint a picture of a rich and messy life, and by the end it almost I felt like I knew her personally. I listened to this book a few months ago and it’s really stuck with me. Highly recommend this book!

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Liked it more than I thought I would

Prior to reading, I knew little to nothing about Israel or Mizrahi Jews. Now I feel like I have extended family through Ms. Tsabari. Describing one of her beaus, she remarks on a particular pronunciation of his which she found attractive (as in cute); I found her accent and pronunciations attractive (as in I wanted more, so kept listening!)

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I loved this book!!

I loved listening to Ayelet’s book.
It was REAL and moving. It was like peeping into a culture I couldn’t have visited otherwise.. It’s a “must read” for me, definitely the best autobiography I’ve read!

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  • NK
  • 05-29-19

Interesting

Overall I enjoyed the book, which is the author’s (and narrator”s) memoirs. However there were times when I was frustrated by certain developments in her life. There were also times when there was a but too much back-and-forth in the narrative. But the ebook is enjoyable and provided a bit more understanding of the Yemenite culture in Israel. The author, a non-native English speaker has an excellent command of the language and writes beautifully. Her narration is very pleasant too, though there were a few words that she mispronounced, but to the extent that the “reader” doesn’t understand what the word is.

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Phenomenal book/audible

I purchased this audible book after reading about the best Israeli books this year. It is incredibly insightful, honest, and you have difficulty putting this down. She is so smart and gives the readers and/or listeners a window into mizrachi life and challenges/opportunities. She is also so generous in letting us glimpse into the good and bad of her growing up.

I feel I know Ayelet and I wonder how she can outdo herself in the next book. But I’ll continue to read her books and be a fan.

Thank you Ayelet for such an excellent book

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Nice story, condense & vary voice

Too long, performance was a bit monotone. Story was interesting , but could have been condensed