In five hundred years’ time, in Tel Aviv, a number of Jewish religious seminary students begin showing signs of mysterious body changes. A genius in Torah and science, Yehezkel Ben Grim is rushed to the scene, asked to diagnose the strange disease and find a cure. In his search for a remedy, he travels to the lands of the Gentiles, and when he returns to Tel Aviv he is followed by a young Gentile woman who clings to him like a shadow.
Meanwhile, the works of an anonymous poet are heard in the city and he is denounced as a rebel, for poetry is forbidden to those who have not been ordained as poets. The investigation into the poet’s identity and the arrival of the Gentile woman in Tel Aviv undermine the stability of the city and seal the fate of many characters in the story. The events are narrated by Doron Aflalo, a young poet from the southern town of Mavo-Yam, modelled on today’s Sderot. When Doron returns to his parents’ home, memories of his dead sister Maryam, who took her own life at age 17, come flooding back. Doron was 14 at the time, and his mourning for her loss becomes a central theme of the book.
Adaf’s fantastical detective story, a highly imaginative and thoughtful artistic fable, presents existential and moral issues that Israeli literature hardly ever deals with. Returning to modern Hebrew literature’s great leap forward, Frost merges the great literary outcasts: Brenner, Berdichevsky and Feierberg, and transforms the resultant character into a contemporary figure.
Frost is a groundbreaking novel by one of the most challenging and important Israeli authors of recent years. It is the first part of the Rose of Judea trilogy, but also stands as an independent novel.
Who else but Shimon Adaf could produce such powerfully imaginative Jewish science fiction? Frost creates a very detailed futuristic world…marked by the qualities that make him so daring and unorthodox a writer. Frost is driven by a desire to smash the conventions…to put past and present at odds, and to create new Hebrew literary, linguistic and technological worlds. Adaf is at the spearhead of literary innovation in Israel. In a culture that tends not to indulge in risky fictional experimentation…Frost represents an ambitious alternative.