From the cover of "Eyeballing Big Croc" by Vivien Zielen
From the cover of "Eyeballing Big Croc" by Vivien Zielen

New memoir: Nepalese royalty, the Six-Day War and Passover in Japan

A new book with an exuberantly peripatetic theme is “Eyeballing Big Croc: Chasing Dreams Around the World,” by Pacifica writer Vivien Zielen, whose life has taken place on ever changing stages. Born in England, she has been a history teacher and the owner of “The China Ware House Company” on Carnaby Street in London, a furniture salesperson in Jerusalem, and has worked in the media. She moved to California in 2005 and became a citizen in 2012.

Cover of "Eyeballing Big Croc" by Vivien ZielenThis lively, accessible collection of related stories were culled from Zielen’s lifetime efforts to “see the world” in search of new experiences. The septuagenarian’s memoir encompasses accounts of wild animals in India; Nepalese royalty; the Six-Day War in Israel; white-water river rafting in Costa Rica; and encounters with wild nature and human characters in Asia, the Caribbean, Canada, the United States, Russia, Ukraine and her native United Kingdom.

Some of the stories contain specifically Jewish content, such as “A Passover Seder in Japan,” or “A Torah Returns Home to Baranovich in Belarus.” There is even one story, “Pink Nails,” set at Shavuot in her synagogue in San Francisco, Congregation Ner Tamid. “Eyeballing Big Croc,” Zielen’s first published work, was published in July.

Zielen will be reading from her book at two events in San Francisco, at 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 28 at Congregation Ner Tamid, 1250 Quintara St., and 12-2 p.m. Nov. 6 at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, 835 Market St.

Laura Pall
Laura Paull

Laura Paull is J.'s Culture Editor, and was a longtime J. freelance writer before that.