This international bestseller tells the bittersweet story of one family, one home, and the surprising arc of one woman's life, from the poverty of her youth, to the intense love and painful losses of her adult years. Braiding together the past and present, Every Home Needs a Balcony relays the life story of a young Jewish girl, the child of Romanian immigrants, who lives with her family in the poverty-stricken heart of 1950s Haifa, Israel. Eight-year-old Rina, her older sister, and her parents inhabit a cramped apartment with a narrow balcony that becomes an intimate, shared stage on which the joys and dramas of the building's daily life are played out. It also a window through which Rina witnesses the emergence of a strange new country, born from the ashes of World War II. While her mother cleans houses and her father drifts from job to job, as the years pass Rina becomes desperate to escape her crowded, dirty surroundings. Eventually she falls in love with a wealthy Spaniard and moves to a luxury apartment in Barcelona. Yet although she enjoys money and status in her new land, it is not Israel.
Longing for the past, Rina, now pregnant, returns to the simple life she has missed - a move that soothes her soul, but destroys her marriage. Alone, raising a new baby, comes the painful realization that no matter how much she yearns for the past, the old Haifa of her boisterous youth has gone. Told with the light touch of a humorous, incredibly dexterous writer, Every Home Needs a Balcony reveals how our choices shape us - and how we learn to survive life's most surprising turns.