Winner of the Sapir Award for Literature and the "2010 Best Translated Book Award" by
Three Percent, a literary translation organization.
The novel reverses from her past to present in varying chunks, not always in chronological order. The events of her life are complicated by the social and political situation in Israel, and events in Russia as well. She is an atheist while her daughter is an observing Jew. Her mysterious relationship with her daughter is a sideline that adds to her complications and also makes the reader ask questions if this, in fact, is part of her “confession”.
For example, she is remembering Alek and points to the weather as being the trigger for her memories: the smell of the rain, the warm wind, the “sight of the softened light refracted from the stone”. But she catches herself in her recounting, and in an aside, remarks “what did I just say? The warm wind and the softened light refracted from the stone in my longing? In the last analysis that’s romantic bullshit too. Setting the feeling in the ‘softened light of refracted from the stone’ to make it more photogenic. I loved Alek under the ugly neon of the hospital too, and in all kinds of other lights that can’t be poeticized.” She counters her memories in other reflections that alternate with humor and bitterness.
Thus the novel is unique and compelling because of Noa’s narrative voice. Never predictable and never easy, but worthy of the time and patience to find the truth between her memories and her reality.
This fiction novel was translated from Hebrew by Dalya Bilu.
Special thanks to Megan at Melville House for this Review Copy.