On the eve of World War II, a group of young men set out from pre-state Israel to Europe. Across the sea, a group of Jewish girls whom they have never met await them. The aim: fictitious marriages with which the girls will be able to escape Europe and reach the Jewish homeland, then under British rule. Two of the young men are close friends, but very different from one another. Ze’ev Feinberg, a daring fellow, tall and muscular, sports a mustache and is used to having women fall at his feet. The other, Ya’akov Markovitch, is a nondescript, drab guy without charisma; no woman has ever taken a second look at him. Nevertheless, it is Markovitch who is allotted the prettiest woman, Bella Zeigerman. He falls head over heels in love with her, and when they reach Israel he refuses to give her a divorce. He suffers humiliation, threats, even beatings, his friend abandons him, but he persists in the hope that Bella will love him some day. But it is not to be.
Bella struggles for her freedom against the backdrop of war in Europe and Israel's War of Independence, with the plot going to and fro between the little individuals and the great events around them, which have a mythic quality to them.
Gundar-Goshen’s colorful debut novel relates the Zionist narrative in a fresh and humorous way. Storied leaders make love to women whose skin has the scent of oranges; brave officers conquer fortresses with the help of cripples, drunkards and gamblers, and Ya’akov Markovitch wanders around among them, driven by his passion and stubbornly holding on to the beautiful Bella.
WINNER OF THE 2016 ADEI-WIZO PRIZE FOR JEWISH LITERATURE
[Written with] surreal inspiring originality… Incisive
writing style, marked by polite humour, accompanies the protagonists who are uncommon
but absolutely captivating in both their strength and fragility.
Adei-Wizo Prize Jury Citation
A dramatic fable
set against the backdrop of the creation of Israel, without Manicheism… “One
Night, Markovitch” dances to its own tune. A small village under a magnifying glass, the banter
of certain characters, the intoxicating fragrance of oranges and the narrator’s
Gundar-Goshen strives to give voice to the hearts tossed
as much by history as by their own desires. This sentimental good-natured tale
is accompanied by an affectionate and colorful account of the anonymous men
who, with weapons or spades in hand, worked for the construction of the State
of Israel. Love and the Promised Land are conquered in the same way, humorously
suggests the novelist: less by force than by patience and persuasion.
Le monde des Livres
Gundar-Goshen is a born storyteller, purely artful.
Inspired by real facts, “One Night, Markovich” is a funny and touching fable,
impressive in its breath and mastery. A beautiful discovery.
At ease in all registers, [Gundar-Goshen’s] writing turns
facetious, sensual and melancholic, laughing, poetic or tearful. She explores
the wide and clear paths of friendship as well as those, more tortuous, of
love, filiation and resilience. A dazzling storyteller is born.
Enchanting… In this fable, where the flavors and odors
are omnipresent, one loses oneself among its colorful characters on their quest
Far from the historical anecdote, [“One Night,
Markovitch”] creates a world marked by fantasy and humor ... It cultivates the
incongruous and the truculent… Flamboyant and often moving, this fable nevertheless
echoes very concrete reality.
Incredibly sad and incredibly funny at the same time.
Neue Zürcher Zeitung
This novel is expressive and sensual, ironic at times, and
surprisingly light. Ayelet Gundar-Goshen is a good and promising writer.
It is hard to believe that One Night, Markovitch is a debut, and a
debut by a young author like Ayelet Gundar-Goshen. The words of the title could
just as well apply to the book itself: You really will want to read it all in
Israeli author Gundar-Goshen perfectly combines her own story with
world history in One
Night, Markovitch. The result is a memorable story. Irresistible, capturing and
heart breaking. This book has it all, and more.
The debut novel One night, Markovitch is a captivating mixture
of magical realism, slapstick and Israeli history. Above all, however, it is a
timeless, sensual and moving love story.
Fantastic debut! Beautiful, fluent, story-telling writing style!
new star is born in the landscape of Israeli literature.
handles this heady mix of simple storytelling, magical realism and dark Jewish
humor with the skill of someone twice her age … The last chapter is
breathtaking and makes you want to start
reading the whole book again.
Utterly delightful … passionate, funny and very moving
A fable for the twenty-first century
A lush debut … both moving and satisfying
novel rich of coupes de theatre where the pages run fast, though it would
better for who reads to stop and sense the smell of the oranges.
A beating novel, alive, rich of important thoughts and
emotions that brings us closer to the far land where this story is
La voce di Venezia
Gundar-Goshen remembers the lucid extraordinary impartiality of Irene
Nemirovsky … simply irresistible, you can't stop reading it.
pages and a smile appears on your face, lightness in your soul, and you are
happy to know that you have find a place: a book to whom you will go back in
the following days.
This book is superb—trenchant and full of love, impressive in the wisdom that we find between the lines.
Author Eshkol Nevo, Yedioth Ahronoth
The period of the British Mandate was never so sexy and funny. Yedioth Ahronoth
How does such talent blossom, almost in secret?
I read it and was caught up in a whirlpool.