The Unsatisfied traces three generations of a German Jewish family and is told from the perspective of Naomi Keller, the grand-daughter. Naomi, a Tel Aviv publisher, goes to Vienna in 1999 to break up with her Irish boyfriend, a stage director working in Europe.
The family story unfolds during Naomi`s subsequent visit to Heidelberg where her family lived before World War II. It begins with her grandmother, Ruth Stein, a glamorous, decadent and dissatisfied woman who lives in Heidelberg with her husband, brother, aunt and young daughter. She spends her days in cafes and at secret meetings with her lover Robert, a young doctoral student, even though she often has to take her daughter Anushka along. Ruth is so busy with her own problems that she has no time to keep abreast of world affairs, and because she looks "Aryan," reality is slow to reach her. However, thanks to her aunt`s pragmatism, the family wakes up in time and emigrates to Tel Aviv where we follow the difficult, often harsh life of the family.
When Naomi is 25, a lawyer gives her Ruth Stein`s diaries. But in her effort to remain detached, Naomi blocks out the truth behind what she reads and it is only when she is 47 and wanders through Heidelberg following the diaries, that she takes stock of her family and how it has influenced her life.
The protagonists of the novel, who belong to the breed of the always unsatisfied, seek hope - each in his or her own way: Ruth through cocaine and alcohol, her daughter through communism and trying to save the world, and her grand-daughter through writing. The novel deals with the suffering of German immigrants who remained outsiders longing for their European past, and with the process of disenchantment they experience in their adopted homeland.
A splendid book, which keeps its readers in suspense until the very end through the intensity of its characters and its unexpected turns of plot.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Brilliantly written dialogues…Mazya gives us masterly descriptions of intersubjective misunderstandings.
Mazya confronts the demons [of Israeli reality] and describes the disintegration of a couple, mixing Jewish humor and meditations on guilt… One discovers a generation that is cruelly disenchanted. But on the ruins, it builds a dwelling in which dreams still fit.
English translation available (for publishers only)