Troubled by recent events and the agonizing reality of Israeli society, Eyal Megged has written an insightful novel about seeking national and personal salvation. His historico-philosophical perspective enables him to weave into the realistic plot a discussion of the destiny of the Jewish people by means of protagonist Alon Lipsky, a historian who has devoted his life to studying Jewish messianic movements. Alon`s nationalistic political views are an anomaly among his colleagues; in his opinion, they are consumed by Jewish guilt, instead of waging an uncompromising war on terror, part of the struggle for the very existence of the State of Israel. He associates with a powerful right-wing leader who lets Alon in on the secret of a radical plan. After the plan fails, Alon renounces political intrigue and sets out on a journey to Eastern Europe, bent on altering the course of Jewish history. In Poland he finds himself part of a Christian organization dedicated to finding the last of the Jews in the area known as "Jewish Lithuania". Alon`s journey is motivated by personal reasons as well; he and his wife have recently separated, after repeated unsuccessful attempts to have a child. Travelling across Lithuania and Belarus, Alon meets a handful of old Jews, some of whom still speak Yiddish, and listens to their reminiscences. At the same time, he gets involved with two Christian Polish women who titillate him with sexual pleasures. But true relief for his soul is the child Misha, abandoned by his parents. With Misha, who had a Jewish grandmother, Alon flies to Saloniki, where the disciples of the pseudo-Messiah, Shabbetai Zevi, converted to Christianity in the seventeenth century. There he is reunited with his wife Yael. They return to Israel, where, despite his nightmares of a murderous terror attack, Alon may finally be able to pick up his life again.
The Black Light is a book of extremes… Megged takes his material from the gripping, dark side of the Jewish treasure house… [and] descends into the black depths to voice the truth in which he believes.
The historical material gives the novel depth and substance... The result is not a purely political novel, but a novel whose historical-philosophical dimension forms the basis for a psychological understanding of what truly motivates those who attempt to save the world. Megged courageously goes all the way with what he has to say, but he does not forget self-irony.
A powerful, sweeping book... that belongs entirely to the war being waged in Israel for the past two years.