Two women dominate Avirama Golan`s astute novel, representing two different worlds - Zhenia, who was born in 1919 in a small, muddy town near the Polish-Ukrainian border, and Didi who was born on an idealistic kibbutz in Israel in the mid-1950s. In 1939, just before the German invasion, Zhenia met an envoy from Eretz Israel, emigrated with him to his country and was saved from annihilation. Didi, who grew up in the children`s house of the kibbutz without any love, rebelled against her parents and the ideals on which she was raised, left the kibbutz and married a young man of Sephardic origin. The paranoid Zhenia has raised two children; she is a suffocating, castrating mother as well as a frigid housewife obsessed with cleanliness. Didi is now an assistant television producer, a yuppie career woman with an adolescent daughter. At the age of forty-four, she is having an affair with a much younger man.
What is the relationship between these two women who meet by chance? Finding any resemblance between them is left to the reader. We simply follow the life-stories linked by a web of similarities that reflect the dynamics of Israeli society. Zhenia, for example, whose son is killed in a daring military operation, is offset by a Palestinian mother whose son was killed during a demonstration. When Didi meets Zhenia in the course of her research for a television program, she is repelled by the paranoid elderly woman who blames the entire world for her son`s death – perhaps because Zhenia reminds her of herself. For like Zhenia, Didi is a stifling mother who tries through her love to rectify the stern education of the kibbutz. Strangely, she cannot fathom her daughter Na`ama`s interest in the ravens that nest in the big tree by their house. These birds can be dangerous in their excessive care for their young.
Golan’s voice is intense and striking, and presents a fresco of modern Israeli society, full of contradictions but also with an inexhaustible will to live… Golan has a great talent for reading people's souls and knowing how how to touch your heart.. An extraordinary novel.
Informazione Corretta (Italy)
A moving story of unfulfilled or worn-out love, of tragic misunderstandings and of the longing for safety and closeness…Avirama Golan has extraordinarily sensitive linguistic power, and knows to enhance the tension of the story.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Golan has written a novel that presents a major ethical issue in exciting language.
English translation available (for publishers only)