For some reason, I didn't enjoy Exodus as much as I did Trinity (another Uris novel). Perhaps this was because Exodus is set in a place and culture that is far more foreign to me than that of Trinity. Or perhaps it was that I had a much better understanding of the history behind Trinity than I did with Exodus. Trinity is about the struggle of the Irish nationalists to remove British colonists from their country between 1890-1920. Exodus is about the rebirth of Israel in 1948.
I really enjoyed the "present" story, the one that unfolded in the telling. The "past" stories bored me a bit. I realise that they are important in helping us understand where the characters have come from, particularly important in the case of the Holocaust-surviving Jews. But all the time I was reading them I kept finding myself impatient to get back to the "present".
Uris is very clever in the way he uses relationships to build the reader's interest in the story of the land itself. The result of this is that the reader is not severly disappointed when each relationship in turn comes to nothing. However, the technique results in a feeling of distance between the reader and the story. Trinity was built, sustained and ended with relationships - perhaps that accounts for my feeling closer to that story than to Exodus.
But it's great for establishing familiarity with history, as are all Uris's novels.
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