Avinoam came home from
the war wounded in both body and mind. He witnessed the horrific death of a
friend in combat, and the traumatic event will not leave him be. He wants to
erase it from his memory, but he keeps going back to it. A shining light bursts
into his mind and fills him with dread, then he awakens sweating in the dark next
to his peacefully sleeping wife Naomi. The light, accompanied by the
sarcastic laugh of his dead friend, haunts him in the daytime too, but he tells
neither his wife nor anyone else. As a result, the routines of life seem meaningless,
everything is pointless, absurd, valueless. The trauma disrupts his family
life, his love-making and his work, including a business trip to Frankfurt. But
Avinoam learns to live with it, and the sense of meaninglessness helps him deal
with the petty struggles, emotional outbursts and human sorrow that surround
him. For he observes everything from the sidelines, not really involved.
sensitive novel follows Avinoam’s attempts to overcome his panic attacks and to understand the mental mechanism that causes them. And
although he hides his secret, the loving and wise Naomi understands him. This
is an optimistic novel, and the reader will empathize with Avinoam who finally
manages to get a hold on his life and appreciate its meaning. The light is not
only dazzling and painful, a prelude to nightmares: it can also be soft and
consoling, the dawn of a new day.
It is not easy to describe a traumatic condition in so plastic a manner without slipping into pathos or self-pity. But Kantor succeeds, in his descriptions of places, voices, colors…The delicate shading, that tries hard to render the experience, creates trust and compassion in the reader, and is evidence of an impressive writing talent.
Tsippy Levin Byron, Haaretz
Kantor’s book raises probing questions on the place of therapy for
people who have undergone battle trauma
but are ostensibly functioning … The writing of this book breaks an
empty and menacing silence, and this is Kantor’s greatness.
Gross, Beyn Hamilim
A book that made me shed a tear, and gave
me unique pleasure … A touching book; I wish I could write like Avram Kantor.
Shmuel Shay, Kol Israel