Eli Inbar, a literature professor about to turn fifty, lies unconscious in Intensive Care. As he slowly comes to, his mind starts unraveling his life story in reverse. Over the course of six days-suggestive of the days of creation-the reader follows him from the break-up with his recent partner to their first meeting, from divorce to new parenthood and marriage, from adolescence to childhood.
We discover that although Eli is a top researcher and a brilliant analyst of any literary text, he does not understand the first thing about his own life. This gap, which is both droll and tragic, deepens as the book progresses, as does his desperate attempt to find a woman he can truly love among the many he is attracted to.
One woman alone stands out and slowly invades the novel with her presence - Eli`s mother, beautiful and immensely loving, but ultimately indecipherable. Their delicate, passionate relationship emerges later in the book, and the secret-hidden from Eli her entire life-is revealed only at the end. At this point, Eli wants to follow his mother into death, but he also has the choice of being reborn.
Vital Signs is an optimistic book about a person`s ability to change from a helpless person into the shaping force of his own narrative, and be re-born halfway through life. It also explores the choice-faced by many Israelis, between a semi-Western identity and a Mediterranean cultural and emotional alternative.
Vital Signs monitors our awakening from the social coma into which we have fallen... A courageous novel written by a mature writer who dares to touch our inner soul.
Avirama Golan`s flowing, intelligent novel...has a humane sensitivity...and contagious joy... Its powerful ending has a certain Shabtaian quality.
The juicy, eventful life of Eli Inbar could quite easily put this novel on the bestseller list for several weeks. But one can also explore the literary enigma that Golan weaves for her reader... A very enjoyable, intelligent book.