Rosie, a well-liked, opinionated book editor, is panicked by the slow death of book culture and obsessed with the traffic in women taking place on the periphery of her complacent, seemingly charmed existence. She is blissfully happy with the lovable man she ended up spending her life with, but is unable to shake free of her enduring, painful attachment to S., a respected author and public figure. She fell for him as a young girl—he was an older man, experienced and charismatic. She became his lover and dreamt of healing all his sorrows, artistic frustrations and emotional wounds, even though he was married and repeatedly betrayed her (as well as his wife) with other women. Even after she lost her naïve ambitions and left him, they continued to have a deep intellectual bond. Over the years, the two have conversations about love and fear, sex and poetry, about the persistence of memories and the stuff that people are made of. Then, while traveling abroad, they meet again by accident and among enchanted landscapes and the last vestiges of an untold past, the unexpected happens, secrets emerge and a final conversation takes place.
Eleonora Lev’s book, interspersed with images—old and new photographs, quaint illustrations from crumbling books, vintage postcards—is a journey in which one woman takes stock: of herself, of those close to her and of the country and time in which she lives. It merges Rosie’s personal story with that of Israel in the olden days and as it is now, its innocence lost. The tale she tells is moving, jarring, poetic and very contemporary, but also nostalgic—about the entanglements of love and life, about longing and losing one’s illusions.
This is a clever book, astonishing and remarkable for its daring and structure… An impressive literary achievement.
A forceful and passionate novel…Its contemplations are impressive, and the cultural issues are expressed in a sharp and original way.
A rich and intricate novel.