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Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray

Reuven Miran
Is there a formula for love? Is a true symbiosis between two lovers really possible? And does this symbiosis mean that two lovers must lose something of themselves to become a new whole? Written in the form of a suspense novel, this is a story about love, identity, loneliness, and human nature.
One day Getz Nobel, an aspiring writer in his thirties, gains the insight he has been searching for. He realizes he does not have to settle for the life he has been given; he can choose another. He goes on to do precisely that, deciding to be reborn whenever he chooses – each time in a different place, with a different name, at a different time. They seem to recognize this hidden fantasy before he does, and help him realize it. They send Lisa, the woman he later falls in love with, to recruit him to their secret agency, where he is to become Jaguar, Daniel-Jacque, Eddie Block, Thor – a multitude of identities, changing according to the mission assigned to him. But are these identities, and the lonely life they entail, really his choice? When Getz Nobel tries to remove the mask he is wearing, he discovers it is glued to his face.
The novel reveals a series of characters, schemes, covert operations and international intrigue in which Getz Nobel plays a central role. Despite having relinquished the prospects living life as a writer, he ends up fulfilling it just as he portrayed it in the early pages of the novel: "deep inside, under the surface, he always remains an outsider, different. Someone else."
Lisa, an aspiring singer, is desperate to escape the life she is leading at the agency. In order to leave, however, she must find her replacement. She sees Getz as her ticket out, not realizing at first that he is perfect not only for the job, but for her as well. Getz, intrigued by the prospects of living "like a spy", who can be "no one and everyone," accepts the job, dooming his relationship with Lisa before it even begins. The life he has chosen, the life Lisa has introduced him to, is ultimately the very thing that will drive them apart. Or is it? Are relationships doomed by their very nature?

Miran has domesticated the classic spy story genre, in delicate yet profound fashion.
Author Abraham B.Yehoshua

This novel is not a parable about writing. It is a spy story which is loaded with suspense, written as a series of riddles, describing the cruelty of a Cyclopian world and its indifference to the fate of the individual, a world whose central symbol is a wrinkled raincoat. 

A complex and highly interesting novel...a successful novel of ideas.

Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray
Title Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray
Author’s Last Name Miran
Author's First Name Reuven
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Yedioth Ahronoth
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2001
No. Pages 295 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Shalosh Sigaryot Be-Maʹafera
Representation Represented by ITHL