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‘In Acland Street, St Kilda, there stands a cafe called Scheherazade.’ Thus begins Arnold Zable’s haunting meditation on displacement, and the way the effects of war linger in the minds of its survivors. In this deeply moving book we meet Avram and Masha, proprietors of the cafe, and hear the tales that they and their fellow storytellers have to offer: of Moshe stalking the streets of Shanghai and Warsaw, of Laizer imprisoned in the Soviet city of Lvov, and of Zalman marooned in Vilna and Kobe. And we learn how Avram and Masha met and fell in love and came to create their Melbourne cafe together.
In this mesmerising book, at once fable and history, fiction becomes a way of remaining faithful to the stories of cities strung across the globe like pearls on a string, to the maps and narratives etched in the minds of old men talking in a cafe by the sea.
‘An original, deeply felt, beautifully written book.’