Synopses & Reviews
Hemda Horovitz is nearing the end of her life. As she lies in bed in Jerusalem, memories from the past flood her thoughts: her childhood in the kibbutz spent under the gaze of her stern, pioneer father; the lake that was her only solace; and her own two children — one she could never love enough, and the other whom she loved too much.
Avner, the beloved child, has grown up to be a heavy, anguished man, disillusioned by his work and trapped in a loveless marriage. When visiting his mother in the hospital, he witnesses a devoted couples final moments together; after the mans death Avner becomes obsessed with finding the woman, and a strange and delicate relationship unfolds.
Dina, Hemda's daughter, has put aside her career in order to give her teenage daughter, Nitzan, the warmth she never received from her own mother. But Nitzan is withdrawing from her, and Dina is overcome by a longing to adopt another child — a longing that, if fulfilled, may destroy her fragile family.
Zeruya Shalev's electrifying new novel is at once a meditation on the state of modern Israel and a profound exploration of family, yearning, compromise, and the insistent pull of the past.
"The agony of death is supplanted by the challenges of family in Israeli writer Shalev's (Late Family) fifth book. Hemda was the first baby born in a progressive kibbutz, raised with high expectations as her mother traveled the world raising money to support her. Now elderly, Hemda lies in a hospital in Jerusalem after a fall in her apartment; she revisits moments from her past, imagining that her parents are visiting her at her bedside. Instead, it's her children who wait nearby, bringing their own issues: having missed her opportunity to have a second child, Dina wants to adopt, but her husband and her daughter think she's deluded and refuse to participate; and Avner, after seeing a dying man at the same hospital where his mother is being treated, is obsessed with finding the man's grieving partner. Shalev captures both the stuffy claustrophobia of the hospital and the abyss of possibility outside as Hemda's health problems force her children to reckon with their legacies and change what they can. The author's long, internal-facing paragraphs amplify the drama and allow each of the Horovitzes to have a say as they face an uncertain future without Hemda's influence." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“An acute and profound statement....One of the most powerful novels I have read in recent years.” Amos Oz
About the Author
Zeruya Shalev was born at Kibbutz Kinneret. She is the author of three previous novels, Love Life, Husband and Wife, and Thera; a book of poetry; and a childrens book. Her work is critically acclaimed and internationally bestselling. Shalev has been awarded the Book Publishers Association's Gold and Platinum Prizes four times, the Corine International Book Prize (Germany, 2001), the Amphi Award (France, 2003), the ACUM Prize twice (1997, 2005), the French Wizo Prize (2007), the prestigious Welt-Literature Award (2012) and The Remains of Love is a finalist of the Bottary Lattes Grinzane Prize (Italy, 2013). Husband and Wife was also nominated for the Femina Prize (France, 2002). A feature film of Love Life, produced in Germany, was released in 2008. Her books have been translated into twenty-five languages. She lives in Jerusalem.
Philip Simpson's Hebrew to English translations include The Lover by A. B. Yehoshua and Where the Jackals Howl by Amos Oz. He lives in Norfolk, England.