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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Sharona Muir participates in meet the author series

Published: October 21, 2005
Section: News

Author Sharona Muirs new memoir, The Book of Telling: Tracing the Secrets of My Fathers Lives, is a story of the search to find out who Muirs father was. Muir spoke on Wednesday in the Shapiro Campus Center Atrium about the book at the Meet the Author series sponsored by the Office of Communications. At least 20 people attended the event.

Sharona Muir didnt know that her father had invented the first Israeli rocket until after he died. Afterwards, Muir decided to find out the full details of his life and to answer the core question that had intrigued her for years: Who was my father?

Muir told the compelling story of her investigative trip to Israel in 1995 to find answers about her fathers mysterious life. She said she struggled with how to tell a story which was not her own and make it come alive. All the voices were in my head for nine years I kept thinking it was done and then an 80-year-old [colleague of my father] remembered something else, so I had to fix a fact.

Muir believes that even though the book is a memoir of her fathers story, it really isnt about him. The heart of this book is not necessarily my father or myself, the subject deep in the heart of this book is the nature of invention.

Itzhak Bentov, Muirs father, had no easy task in building a rocket for Israel. The research budget of weapons defense was $3000, Muir said. To test the rocket, Bentov had to battle the war zone by avoiding snipers. Muir called it a miniature Manhattan Project.

After coming to the America, Bentov became an entrepreneur and also invented the remote controlled cardiac catheter. Audience member Barbara Curtiss, 70, Brookline, Mass., commented that the United States provided Bentov with an outstanding opportunity. I was struck by how wonderful this country is in offering opportunity to talented people. Its one of the wonderful attributes of America, she said.

Rather than explaining why she wrote the book and who influenced her, Muir read excerpts from the memoir. Many of the audience members were drawn to this aspect of the event. Marilyn, 63, from Brookline, Mass., loved the presentation. She was very provocative as a writer and as an actress. I thought her talk was wonderful. It really got you into the story. I thought she picked out a really interesting part of the book to read, she said.

Muir always wondered why her father never told her what he did. She believes the reason is the typical attitude of his generation. They were tight-lipped. The Holocaust generation disliked talking about their past, she said. Muir thinks she acquired an inventors gene from her father and this book is her invention.
Muir has won many awards for both her poetry and her prose, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, two Ohio Arts Council Fellowships, a Hodder Fellowship, and a Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture Fellowship. Muirs mother, Marilyn Bentov, was in the first graduating class of Brandeis in 1952.
The Meet the Author series was launched in February 2003. They have had two Pulitzer Prize winners speak;

David Hackett Fischer and Thomas Friedman. We created the program as a way to focus the spotlight on Brandeiss being a very literary community, co-creator and Senior Vice President for Communications Dennis Nealon said. The series intends not only to continue to feature Brandeis authors, but also to invite commercial authors to speak on a wide range of subjects.

Co-creator Lorna Miles, Senior Vice President of Media Relations, found that after reading the memoir, she realized how little she know about her parents.