Ido Rosen is the oldest contestant in the Aviv competition for pianists in Tel Aviv. He is almost thirty years old, and this is his last chance to become a ranking performing artist.
Ido is at rock bottom when he starts the competition: he is penniless and hungry most of the time, his landlord is raising his rent and threatening to throw him out, his only friend decides to leave the country, and even love is not an option since he recently broke up with his girlfriend Noga in order to devote himself to the piano. Hovering above everything is the money he owes Boris the piano tuner and his agreement to sell him the piano if he doesn`t win the competition. This arrangement both threatens Ido because of its finality, and implies some kind of end to the suffering that is his life.
The book follows Ido from the semi-finals until the finals and their outcome. In between he wanders the streets of Tel Aviv, his bad luck, or maybe his self destructive impulses repeatedly getting him into impossible situations.
Garfinkel`s intriguing plot exploits the vacuum that typifies the press coverage of competitions- a vacuum that cries out to be filled- and is a fascinating demonstration of how stories about the lives of contestants would probably look.
Avi Garfinkel has a talent for shades of diagnosis and language that enable him to describe complex emotional situations.
Garfinkel deals with the gap between success and failure in an intelligent and enjoyable manner, and portrays the dissonance between the preoccupation with art and the daily hassles of a young artist