A love story as implausible as this must be true. Their first date was arranged by a professional matchmaker. A deal, a pragmatic matter that had nothing to do with romance – that's how it all began. Not long after the engagement was settled, Gabriel was sent to war. The year was 1914. Like Penelope and her Odysseus, Fanny waited for him. This was just the beginning of a romance spanning seven decades of passion and rage, desire and contempt, estrangement and attraction. This love story, set against a backdrop of the major historical events of the twentieth century, is also the story of the era’s biggest Jewish dilemma: the choice between the promise of life in America and a new Jewish state in Palestine. While Fanny and Gabriel find themselves on opposite sides of this conflict, fate reunites them. Both a torment and an anchor, their love is an ember that never dies. Fanny and Gabriel are more than just incredible characters – they were author Nava Semel’s very own grandmother and grandfather. With her unique literary talent, Semel weaves and reconstructs their story, piecing together the fragments of their extraordinary life. Fanny and Gabriel was first published in Israel in July 2017, just a few months before Semel’s death. It topped the best seller lists, received rave reviews, and found an adoring audience of readers.
Nava Semel has published novels, short stories, poetry, plays, children's books and a number of TV scripts. Semel has received several literary prizes, including the American National Jewish Book Award for Children's Literature (1990), the Women Writers of the Mediterranean Award (1994), the Prime Minister's Prize of Israel (1996), and Tel Aviv's Literary Woman of the Year (2007).