A deeply disturbing conflict lies at the heart of this perceptive family story.
Menachem Zilber saved Nechama from the Germans during the Holocaust. Later, they married, came to Israel and started a family, but they never talked to their children about what happened there. However, this wall threatens to give way when their youngest son, Yaki, falls in love with a German girl named Anna. Menachem is horrified, and when Yaki insists on marrying her, he disowns his son and the young couple move to Munich. Many years later, Yaki`s eldest son, Gil, decides to do National Service in Israel and this is the point at which the novel begins.
In the intervening years, Menachem has died and when Nechama, Yaki`s mother, hears that the grandson she has never met is coming to Israel, she is torn between loyalty to her dead husband and her desire to heal the family`s wounds. At first she decides not to see Gil, but when he turns up at her door and is the spitting image of Menachem, she gives in and the two become very close. Yet this also creates conflict because emotions and anger—repressed until now—rise to the surface. Eventually, Yaki and Anna also come to Israel and the long-avoided family reunion takes place. Yaki has to confront his anger towards his parents for rejecting him, while Nechama realizes that Anna is not the monster she had imagined.
The novel ends, movingly, with Nechama`s voice. In her final moments, her grandson and her dead husband become one in her mind, she finds a deeper meaning behind the resemblance between them, and is at peace.
Kantor molds his adult characters beautifully… This is a well crafted novel that interweaves psychological drama with a thrilling plot.
This is an “all Israeli story” : the boycott on “the people in Germany; the soldiers in Gaza, the fear of a terrorist attack… the Israeli family’s refusal, perhaps fear, to progress and move... A restrained yet gripping novel about a family born in anxiety.
Iton Tel Aviv