Eitan Russo, a strong and introverted man, returns to his childhood home in an old agricultural village after years of estrangement. Two brothers from a neighboring Arab village, Baseel and Majd, help him set up a horse farm together with his girl friend Alona. It is summer 1991, and the day starts with Eitan trying to break in Barb, a beautiful wild stallion that Baseel and Majd have given him as a gift. From the outset it is clear that something terrible will happen in the course of the day, and the plot is built as a high-tension, passion-filled drama, with present events dictated by what happened decades before. For despite his attempt to avoid his destiny, Eitan repeats errors made by his father, Bezalel Russo.
As the story of the past interweaves with the present, dark repressed secrets gradually emerge. Back then in the early 1940s, Bezalel Russo and his wife Ahuva, a loving couple, came and settled in the village, had two sons and made their living growing avocados. But one day, an Arab man disappeared in the avocado grove under mysterious circumstances, and the Russos’ life was wrecked. Bezalel left home and died of heart failure a year later. Ahuva was left a widow, and the younger son emigrated to Australia. Eitan, the firstborn, has never spoken of what happened in his childhood and it is only now, forty years after the trauma, that he confronts his past.
With sweeping intensity, Ayelet Shamir binds together the two distant periods with their enthralling characters and carries the reader on to the dramatic denouement.
FULL ENGLISH TRANSLATION and PARTIAL FRENCH TRANSLATION AVAILABLE (for publishers only).
A fine, subtle and precise
Faulknerian novel … In my eyes, it is a powerful, heart-rending story about
the terrible power of the past … I read it in excitement and suspense.
In addition to all the words of praise that have already been said, and are yet to be said, I wish to point out the rare and inspired quality of Ayelet Shamir’s narrative prose, which creates a rich visual and emotional world.
Author Abraham B. Yehoshua
Ayelet Shamir’s novel is very unusual in the landscape of Hebrew literature in recent years … It reaches a rare profundity of plot, of emotion and of ideology that exposes the hidden layers of Israeli existence … The Bed You Make arouses admiration and achieves a forgotten literary goal: to look around and within, in order to distinguish and to diagnose; to ponder ourselves, our ancient sins and how they have evolved.
Very impressive … A must-read…Shamir is tempted again and again by the good stories that her fertile imagination and creativity come up with … Ayelet Shamir writes wonderfully.
Author Amos Oz
Ayelet Shamir’s new novel
takes pleasure in leading the reader, like an untamed horse, round two main
axes of the plot…Shamir leads with the expertise of a realist author … Her
comprehensive mastery of the world she depicts inspires the reader to trust her
The charm of Ayelet
Shamir’s new novel is like the charm of a fan. A closed fan hides its contents,
but when it is spread out it reveals the lovely, colorful picture hidden
between its pleats, that tells a complex and multi-dimensional tale ... A work of art of restrained, sensitive writing.
Marah & E-Mago
A marvelous book … Flowing, rich in descriptions
and language, it compels you to read right up to the end. Recommended!
A compelling novel, in which the human and animal worlds, wild and domesticated nature, stark naturalism and universal philosophical vision all cross paths. This is a very Israeli novel, and at the same time it offers sharp insights into the human soul everywhere ... Ayelet Shamir’s writing momentum is formidable. She has a superb talent for shaping a character with all of its mental contortions, its behaviors and quirks ... A stomach-churning book that will stay with its readers long after they have finished reading it.
The Ramat Gan Prize Committee