From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In his second book in English translation, popular Israeli novelist Nevo pays tribute to the dynamism of his country, honing in on a handful of neighbors in the town of Mevasseret, just outside Jerusalem, whose Arab inhabitants were displaced in 1948. The novel is narrated from multiple perspectives; each intense personality describes the struggle to embrace the tension of everyday life in Israel and come to terms with the law of the preservation of sadness. Noa and Amir are a young couple—he a psychology student and she a photography student—adjusting to life together under the same roof; landlords Moshe and Sima in the apartment next door clash over the appropriate religious upbringing of their children. Across the lot a family mourns the loss of a son to the war in Lebanon, and nearby, the Arab Madmonis family faces prejudice on a daily basis. While death and social isolation hover over many scenes, Nevo masterfully explores the dualities of life in Israel, and delicately draws out the hope and love submerged in the hearts of its citizens. (Apr.)
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Shifting characters and perspectives, this multilayered novel looks at the lives of a handful of neighbors in the small Israeli town of Mevasseret. It’s 1995 and Amir, a college student studying psychology in Tel Aviv, and Noa, a photography student attending classes in Jerusalem, move together into a small apartment. A passionate couple, they nonetheless find themselves struggling to adjust to their new life in the same room. Their landlords, Sima and Moshe, share the thin walls in the apartment next door, and their marriage is tested when they disagree on the religious upbringing of their two young children. A few houses away, a family is devastated over the death of their eldest son. The neglected brother, Yotam, finds solace in a budding friendship with the introspective Amir. And there is the mysterious Arab construction worker determined to return to his childhood home after being displaced along with the village’s other Arab inhabitants in 1948. Nevo’s characters are diverse, yet their desires, histories, and interactions blend seamlessly to create an engrossing portrait of a restless community. --Leah Strauss