Yoav, a young insurance claims adjuster, comes to a remote village in the Galilee to investigate a fire that occurred there half a year before. It is not his first visit to the village, but last time he came for different reasons, and since then he has grown a beard and is unrecognizable. The investigation begins with trivialities but soon uncovers a passionate drama involving more and more of the villagers and the tangled relationships between them. The Arab laborers from the neighboring village also play a part, as do the soldiers at an army base on a nearby hill, and the town of Safed with its kabbalists and zealots. As the investigation progresses, surprising secrets expose the violence and sexuality seething under the pastoral surface.
On the day the fire broke out, several things were going on. Sima, who rents out discrete B&B rooms for couples only, was cheating on her husband—as usual—with Hassan the Arab foreman whose laborers work in the village. Aref, engaged to Hassan’s daughter, was having sex with Riki, a village girl, and Shira, Riki’s older sister, was with Yoav in one of Sima’s rooms. But right then, her soldier boyfriend Yoni comes home on leave after a traumatic military operation in the West Bank city of Jenin. He sees Shira leaving the room, comes face to face with Yoav, and his rifle fires a shot. What exactly happened here? Where has Shira disappeared to? And who started the fire?
A thriller of a novel, Hillside on Fire is built like a detective story and has a very Israeli flavor; untamed nature plays a decisive role, and serves as a metaphor for the impulses and passions of the human heart.
PARTIAL ENGLISH TRANSLATION AVAILABLE (for publishers only).
Hameiri creates an Israeli mythology that blends destruction and passion.
The best of all Hameiri’s work… Through a small place, he reflects on the whole of Israel.
A passionate, complex drama.