"Sharona Muir's gifts for narrative, cultural insight and imagery make this memoir a brave and remarkable book ... a tender, but unflinching memoir of a lost soul, it is hard to forget. As a personalized account of a country shaped by desperation, it contains the kernel of the Israel we know -- or think we know -- today."
Times Literary Supplement
"Sharona Muir has written a gripping personal memoir about her odyssey to rediscover and reclaim her father. Along the way she uncovers some hard truths about the heroic founders of Israel and the beginnings of Israeli science. The Book of Telling keeps in all the fears and resentments and consolations and warmth of such a process -- at once her own story and the tale of a nation."
Edmund White, author of A Boy's Own Story
"The Book of Telling opens with a series of lyrical evocations of the elusive father whose influence made Sharona Muir into both a poet and a scholar. By the end of this memoir, her passionate investigation has drawn Itzhak Bentov partly out of the shadows that protected his work as an Israeli defense scientist and has given the book a historical scope that never ceases to be poignantly intimate."
Diane Middlebrook. author of Her Husband: Sylvia Plath & Ted Hughes, A Marriage
"The Book of Telling tells of a womans journey to uncover the secret life of her father and to find herself in the process, an unusual counterpoint between personal history and the history of a young nation. Haunting, powerful and beautifully written."
Alan Lightman, author of Einstein's Dreams
"An extraordinary story, exceptionally well told and absolutely true to character. I met people like these during my years in Israel, painful amalgams of irrepressible brilliance and unconquerable melancholy who would sometimes allude to a mysterious past but seldom elaborated. Sharona Muir has done so well in getting them to talk while, at the same time, bringing out their faults and human flaws."
Norman Lebrecht, author of The Song of Names
After her father died, Sharona Muir learned by chance that he had invented Israel's first rocket.
Muir's parents divorced when she was very young, but she adored the father she saw on Saturday outings. She knew him as "Invention-a-Minute" Ben, a freelancer who designed gadgets and created surgical equipment that saved lives. Itzhak Bentov occasionally told stories of his early days in Israel, but it was only after he died that Muir accidentally learned he had been a member of a top-secret group of scientists called Hemmed, which made weapons for Israel's War of Independence.
Amazed by this discovery, Muir traveled to Israel to meet her fathers colleagues, a group of idealists -- many of them refugees from Europe -- who had been summoned by David Ben-Gurion to create weapons for a new nation. With the equivalent of $3,000, these young scientists set up shop in a rooftop shed in Tel Aviv, working day and night, falling asleep at their desks while still holding their pencils.
Through the memories they share, Muir comes to know the brilliant, impassioned, and creative young Bentov. She weaves her own memories of him into their stories: demonstrating his latest invention for her, taking her canoeing, sharing his wilder thoughts about consciousness and the cosmos. As the truths she seeks emerge, Muir elegantly evokes the hubbub of Jerusalem streets, the uncommon lives of her hosts, and the land and skyscapes of the Negev. The result--a story of invention and self-invention, of Israel's founding generation, and of a deep, abiding love between father and daughter --is an incandescent memoir.