Dr Uriah Adam, a family doctor from Jerusalem, was abandoned by his mother when he was ten. He grew up in the home of his grandmother, Mamma Ruth, a warm and loving woman who tried to give him a normal childhood. His mother Eva was a free spirit, giving no thought to anyone but herself. She went with many men but was not attached to any, and had Uriah with one of her lovers when she was nineteen. She told young Uriah that his father had been run over by a garbage truck and died. "But you," she added, "you will be whatever you want." Until the age of ten, Uriah wandered with her from one squalid apartment to another, went with her to work cleaning staircases and selling glass beads on the street, and defended her honor when children called her names. Then, one day, she disappeared without a trace. Twenty-five years later, she leaves a message on Uriah`s answering machine: she will be returning to Israel from abroad in three days time and wants to meet him.
The plot of this poignant novel takes place during the four days leading up to and including his mother`s arrival, weaving pictures from Uriah`s difficult childhood with scenes of his life as a grown man who has become the opposite of his mother. Uriah deals with memories of the past and the enigma of his father on the one hand, with present relationships as well as his involvement with his patients on the other. At 35 he is still single, and is exploring his feelings toward Eliana who is about to start her career as a neurologist. He himself gave up on the idea of a high-profile career and has chosen instead to help people as a family doctor in a run-down neighborhood. After work, he visits Mamma Ruth in a nursing home and Jonathan, a patient who is in hospital with a brain tumor. Will Uriah forgive the mother who abandoned him? Will he listen to her explanations and lies? Can there be any doubt how such a sensitive man to will act?
A superb novel.
A dazzling novel... the mother's confession is a magnificent meditation on the unsaid and the lies hiding in the wings of family life.
With her incomparable style, Mira Magen has again succeeded in writing a wonderful novel full of love, longing and sadness.
David: Jüdische Kulturzeitung
English translation available (for publishers only)