This novella takes place in the Negev desert in southern Israel, in a wild and uninhabited area. Or almost uninhabited, because this is where the Bedouin roam and graze their goats since time immemorial. Three young Israelis meet there in a makeshift hut on a mission that they believe will make them rich: they have been hired to confiscate herds of goats according to a law enacted by the Israeli government in the 1970s. The purpose is apparently positive: to move the Bedouin into permanent housing, and remove the goats in order to protect the region’s natural vegetation. But the mission, carried out by force, goes against Bedouin culture and their way of life; in fact, the Bedouin lose their livelihood. The three men are very different from one another. Arik, “a man of the world” is a macho, arrogant and shifty type who dreams of getting rich quick; Mickey, an unsophisticated kibbutznik, needs to make some money because he is getting married, and Azoulaן , a Mizrahi Jew from an immigrant township and a dysfunctional family, has to earn a living for his family. And there’s also the boss, Naftali, a callous, cynical functionary who is determined to get a more senior position. Arik, Mickey and Azoulai carry out their mission. Although it is legal, it is not ethical, and each in his own way reflects a brutal, apathetic and intolerant society that, in Carmi’s opinion, has undergone a rapid process of corruption.
I cannot recall another book like this... A total artistic achievement.
A political novel, original and intriguing... Another outstanding work by carmi.
A moral work... An honest, undistorted mirror.