One morning, 15-year-old Noni goes with his older friend Michael to do some target-practice in the sand dunes by the beach, outside Ashkelon. Michael, a coolheaded, hardhearted soldier who serves as a sniper on the border with the nearby Gaza Strip, teaches Noni to shoot with his sniper's rifle. Suddenly they come across a boat from Gaza that has been washed ashore, with an exhausted Palestinian boy lying in it. His name is Ra'ad and he is wearing a pearl earring.
This is the beginning of an intriguing coming-of-age novel. Noni is a sensitive and troubled boy, searching for his place in the world. His mother has died; his father, a truck driver, is away from home for many long hours at a time. His classmates are at-risk boys and girls, and it is no wonder that he wants to be close to Michael who serves as a model and big brother to him. But the encounter with Ra'ad creates a new feeling of empathy in Noni. In his imagination, he begins to build the Palestinian boy's life story and finds that in many ways It is similar to his own - Ra`ad has also been left on his own, looking for a mother, maltreated and exploited by people who are stronger than him.
Through the stories of Noni and Ra'ad, Ben Vered sketches two separate worlds, whose physical proximity is a source of violence, but also of understanding and compassion.
Alluring and daring.
Always maintains a delicate balance between intense plot and restrained writing.
An important work for Israeli political discourse...A courageous novel.