Saul Semel’s main problem is other people. Otherwise, he is doing just
fine. He is one of the best-known and respected writers in Israel, he
has appeared on the world’s most esteemed literary platforms, and in the
fall of 2001—the year of the attack on the Twin Towers—he is a visiting
professor at New York University. However, truth to tell, he has not had
anything published in a decade.
If you were to ask Saul, he’d say that as far as he is concerned this
is quite alright. But those around him are less satisfied. His editor, his
ex-wife and even his mother all expect him to try harder in order to
maintain his literary status. It is perhaps because of this that when he
meets Alona—a brilliant, enigmatic young woman who worships his very
being—Saul loses his head. He has never met anyone like Alona. She can
write like the devil, although she does not know much about literature; she
is emotionally defenseless yet has a survivor’s nature. When Saul realizes
that Alona possesses the key to his return to the heights of the literary
world, he ignores all the alarm signals and sets out on an ambitious and
wild path, endangering himself, Alona, and all that is dear to him.
Saul Searching is an exhilarating novel, entertaining and thoughtful,
that probes our fear of admitting that the best parts of our lives are behind
us, our anxiety that everything we think about ourselves is wrong, and the realization that the moment someone even considers doing a deal with the
devil, they have in effect already signed that deal.
She [writes] without rage... but rather with great enjoyment, as if at a big literary banquet at which the entire character of the hero is guzzled down, and then a lass is raised to toast the deed.
This book is an unadulterated pleasure, even for readers who take no particular interest in the dark side of the literary world.
This is a brilliant book indeed.