Where I Am

A piercing novel about the experience of a life abroad in a cultural setting not one’s own: Reut is an Israeli translator in Paris with a French husband and their child. But she feels isolated and misunderstood, resulting in a sense of estrangement that explodes at a festive dinner party with affluent, intellectual friends. During the sumptuous meal, she sits on the edge of her chair, alert and navigating a tangle of cultural codes with which she’s never been fully at ease. Will she escape the alienation that accompanies her everywhere? Where I Am, Dana Shem-Ur’s virtuoso debut, blends comedy and travelogue to examine a woman’s attitudes about belonging to a man, to a culture, to a language. It concerns migration and wandering, long journeys and changing landscapes. This intimate, heartbreaking book portrays a profoundly human yearning to stop everything, to lay down one’s head, and to feel—if only for a moment—at home.

Excerpt from Where I Am