This scenic, moving novel, set at the end of the nineteenth
century, follows the first seven years of Gai Oni—a settlement in the Galilee,
the precursor to the town of Rosh Pinnah—through the life-altering trials and
experiences of a pioneer woman. Fania, a 16-year-old survivor of a pogrom in
the Ukraine, arrives in pre-state Israel with her uncle, her deranged brother
and her unwanted baby, a product of rape. Upon her arrival in Jaffa, she meets
Yehiel, a 26-year-old widower, the father of two, and one of the few
courageous souls left in Gai Oni. Severe drought and exhausting work have
driven away most of the pioneers, leaving behind only a few tenacious
Fania moves in with Yehiel and throws herself into the life of
a peasant woman, trying to squeeze a living out of the stony ground despite
hunger and disease. Wearing Arab robes, she rides through the bandit-infested
country and breaks into the male-dominated worlds of commerce and politics,
even of defense.
"One of the tests of the coming of age of any literature...is
when it is able to take on a national historical theme convincingly," wrote
Yael Feldman. Valley of Strength is an Israeli classic which ties
together Israeli history and world feminism, and is beloved by critics and
readers alike. It has become an integral part of Israelis’ literary education.
Translated from the Hebrew by Philip Simpson.