Eitan and Leah Oved are tired. Tired because of their age, tired because they can’t fall asleep, tired since the daughters they raised are no longer with them. They live in a village in Israel’s coastal plain, in an old farm building that they converted into a home after they got married. Leah has been bedridden since the previous summer and Eitan looks after her with the help of a nurse. And it is precisely now, in the silence of Leah’s last months of illness, that disturbing things are happening. Someone is moving household objects around, turning chairs upside down, burying the laundry in the yard, locking the door from the outside. Worse than all of this, Eitan’s parents’ home, which has been standing closed and neglected in the center of the family allotment, has been reopened. Various objects from inside that home are discovered in the surroundings, creating a mystery, one that gets deeper and deeper and farther and farther from any simple, concrete solution.
This is a dark novel about the place of the home in Israel today. With virtuosity, Lilach Netanel links a traditional Gothic style of writing and the Israeli farming community. She depicts a twilight situation between life and death, not only of the dying Leah but also of Eitan, who is the same age as the State of Israel; of the farming village that is a bastion and symbol of the healthy, rural Israel, and of the home where Eitan grew up and where he lives in today. This is a grim and hypnotic book, written with clarity and succinctness that only intensify the horror that lurks beneath the surface.
This is Lilach Netanel’s third novel.
The main enjoyment this book provides has to do with the succinct language that is Netanel’s trademark as a story teller. Sentences that are mostly short, simple, and focused.