EAST SIDE STORY by Elizabeth Wilder
Newly minted diplomat Jennifer Westfield thinks she landed her dream job in Jerusalem, until realizes she has been set up to fail. Her staff is MIA; pampered multinational toddlers (and their parents) have overrun her office; and the Palestinian and Israeli undergraduates in her program (who are enrolled in Conversational English) refuse to speak to each other.
As Jennifer gets to know her students, she realizes they are powerless in an endless conflict. Challenging typical diplomatic assumptions, she tries something (gasp!) new. The students won’t talk – but maybe they’ll sing.
Starting with six fellow music lovers, Jennifer teaches folk songs to the students. While the words are confusing – why is Suzanna crying? – their shared passion for music elevates the program and attracts both notoriety and praise. With the help of operatic UN diplomat Timot Kovac (from the ADIPOSE unit), Jennifer’s expanded show-choir attempts to stage a musical that should have been set in Jerusalem: West Side Story.
Can she find a performance venue? Will any VIPs attend? And will this ruin her budding career? Jennifer has to look within and around her to recruit a team of fellow diplomats who want to “dream the impossible dream”.
EAST SIDE STORY is a Christopher Buckley style satire crossed with a little Glee. I’m a musical-loving expatriate who sings only in the shower. EAST SIDE STORY is a 60,000-word NA contemporary novel.
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