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The Memory Hunter

This novel is about the power of the past and explores the paralyzing effects of past secrets, especially on children’s lives. It skillfully paints a pastoral picture, only to show how such a life can be irredeemably shattered by the conflicts in a small community. The plot, developed around a family secret buried for decades, centers on the inquiry about two brothers, one secretly in love with the other’s wife. Violence surfaces when a baby is born and the jealous lover shoots his brother, his brother’s wife, and himself.

As she is being shot, the woman throws her baby into the air in a great arc, a motif that recurs throughout the child’s life and death as an airforce pilot at nineteen; as a constant presence in his memory, saturating and overshadowing his life. It is the source from which the narrative unfolds, in many directions at once, into the past and into the future. The story of this family and this village, with its secrets and passions and concealed intrigues, is the story of any village, anywhere. The novel is constructed as a series of concentric circles: the outer one a murder mystery; the next a description of village life; the next the description of a family and its past – the secret itself; and finally, in the center, that one movement, the arc, the swinging motion which animates and saturates the whole.

Title The Memory Hunter
Writer's Last Name Sarna
Writer's First Name Igal
Genre Fiction
Publisher (Hebrew) Am Oved
No. Pages 223pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Tzayad Ha-Zikaron
  • “ This first novel by Igal Sarna ends too quickly to for our liking. ”

    Le Nouvel Observateur
  • “ Igal Sarna looks at Israel with tenderness, anger and passion. His books, written in pared language, reflect this vision full of love and despair. ”

    Le Monde
  • “ Heart-gripping stories about death, love and friendship…Igal Sarna is one of the best journalists in his country.”