An evening in Tel Aviv, Yonatan finds himself outside his home without money and no idea where to go. He thinks deep into the city’s nightlife, with alcohol, women and drugs. How could he end here in the streets between party-goers and protesters? He once had a plan, for the time after his gap year after the IDF, a career as a photographer, a loving wife and a son. But also Lia, his wife, has to find her place and has to cope not only with the demons of her past, but also with the picture she had of her brother. Just like her sister Sharon who tries to forget and not confront all the negative events that happen in her life by filling her day with work.
I struggled a bit with the novel at first. The narrative structure which always alternates between the present and different points in the past was not very easy to sort out at first. However, this gave it a lot more dynamics and made it actually livelier. I found Yonatan’s and Lia’s story quite interesting, especially having two opposite characters approaching the same point of culmination. I can see what the other two characters contributed to the story, but I could have done without them.
What I appreciated most was the fact how Julian Fuhrman caught the atmosphere of Israel. On the one hand, the carefree and light-hearted nightlife in which you can indulge and forget. On the other hand, being threatened by war and confronted with actual bombings is also a part of their life. Likewise, the question if, as an Israeli, you can befriend an Arab – to which extend do political implications limit your personal sphere? The necessary and mandatory service in the army and the need to flee from this time after having completed the IDF – a constant crucial test of the love for your country. The protesters and their fight for affordable housing and food, it was reported worldwide about this movement and Fuhrman thus integrated very mundane aspects in the novel which rendered the characters and the plot authentic. In the centre, of course, the basic conflict between Lia and Yonatan. How can you love joyfully in those circumstances and make you love last?
A novel which traps the attitude towards life of a whole generation.