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Hotel Malta

Edna Shemesh

Hotel Malta is an enjoyable dramatic novel about Eva and Ernest Blum, whose lives were disrupted by World War II, and their grandson Amotz whose family is in crisis. Powerful but suppressed emotions push Ernest to ask his grandson a favor related to the past: On the eve of his migration to Israel in the 1950s, in Naples, and already married to Eva, Ernest had three days of wild passion with a young woman named Nora, who was also on her way to Israel. Now, toward the end of his life, he wants to meet her again. Amotz is intrigued and determined to find her. His search for Nora and his meeting with her granddaughter Gonnie drive the plot toward its unexpected climax. Meanwhile, Ernest’s life changes and so do the lives of other characters, both close and far.

    Between the lines, the book raises a variety of questions: What is unfulfilled love and what effect does it have? What do three days of bliss signify, compared to an entire lifetime? What will happen to the younger generation of Israelis, with their ethical, economic and personal difficulties? And—perhaps most heart-wrenching of all—is it possible to die happy?

    With rare descriptive ability and a discriminating eye, Shemesh weaves a complex and compelling plot. Her heroes have real psychological depth and she leads them through tangled events while keeping track of their rich and fractious inner worlds, full of open and hidden passions.


The chapters of the book hop skillfully from character to character … This is a book that aims to explain to the older generation the possibilities for the life of the young here-and-now generation … Yearning for the past is a fundamental human experience, both when it is justified and when it is not. As long as nothing changes in that yearning, books like Hotel Malta will continue to speak to readers about it.

Yoav Rosen, Haaretz

What a lovely book! It draws you in, its characters are multi-dimensional, it tells of a very real experience, and it is written in fine Hebrew. It combines subtle humor and gloom, moments of joy and harsh disappointments, and it is surprisingly similar to life.

Yossi Beilin, Israel Hayom

An intricate tale, told in language that gives genuine pleasure. We are captivated by the surprising events … A dizzying emotional journey is laid out before us … Because of its multiple layers, Hotel Malta is our bestseller of the week. 


A good novel, as is well known, is not only ideas, contents and messages of significance, but also the way they are expressed … In this book, a wealth of language has been used … It is a profound work, rich, multi-layered, replete with recurring motifs, symbols, metaphors, ambiguities, allusions and ciphers, about the bodily scars and the mental wounds inflicted by the Holocaust, both on its victims and on their offspring. I was powerfully drawn into it, and it left its marks on me. I wholeheartedly recommend this affecting and unforgettable book. 

Orna Lieberman, E-mago

Title Hotel Malta
Author’s Last Name Shemesh
Author's First Name Edna
Language(s) Hebrew
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Hakibbutz Hameuchad
Year of Publication 2 (Hebrew) 2015
No. Pages 403 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Otel Malta
Representation Represented by ITHL


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