Jewish News Virginia: Review of Bloodlines
Neville Frankel, author of Bloodlines, will visit Tidewater as one of the Lee and Bernard Jaffe* Family Jewish Book Festival’s presenters at the Simon Family JCC.
A relative of Bill and Sharon Nusbaum’s, Frankel’s ties to Tidewater include his wife, Marlene, who was raised in Portsmouth.
Born in South Africa, Frankel moved to the United States with his parents at age 14, attended Dartmouth College, and received a doctorate in English literature from the University of Toronto. In the 1980s, he wrote The Third Power, a well-reviewed political thriller about the transformation of Rhodesia to Zimbabwe. He also wrote several smaller works, some that were self-published, and some that were written for enjoyment.
Sometime in his 40s, Frankel began to read more and more about the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, and wondered about others (many of whom were also Jewish), who put themselves at risk. He wondered what life would have been like if he and his family had stayed. “I realized there was a story to be told here,” he says. “I needed to go back, and my family actually convinced me to make this journey.”
For the first time in nearly 40 years, Frankel traveled to South Africa in 2005. “I felt a sense of returning, of completion, but I needed to tell a story about all I left behind,” he says. “And so I created a story in my mind.” A story with many edits, revisions, and rewrites, including some by the Nusbaums, with whom Frankel remains very close.
Bloodlines is about a boy who leaves South Africa with his father. The story he is told about his mother and the past is a lie. His mother faced agonizing choices, especially the decision to stay in South Africa as a fugitive, and forfeit her relationship with her son. The truth unfolds during the book, along with deep and emotional family secrets. “It’s about how we get caught up in political and economic events that are bigger than we are, and how they can destroy our lives,” he says.
Frankel, who visits this area about once a year, is excited to return and present his book to this community. “It will be a delight to talk to people, to see family and old friends,” he says. “We are grateful to the JCC, the Nusbaums, and our other area friends and relatives for taking this on,” he says. “We already feel very welcomed, and it will be a delight to share this work with readers in Virginia Beach.”
The Lee and Bernard Jaffe* Family Jewish Book Festival runs from November 3-17 at the Simon Family JCC. For more information about all the events, visit www. SimonFamilyJCC.org and watch for the Book Festival mailer in the next few weeks.