Aner Shalev`s book is an intriguing psychological journey into the psyche of an amoral man. Adam, the novel`s hero, will quite possibly arouse mixed feelings in the reader. On the one hand, he has a disarming appeal and women fall for him easily; on the other, he is egocentric, childish and incapable of understanding other peoples` emotions. The fact that he is also the novel`s narrator complicates matters further, and only at the surprising end can we form an opinion of him. But there is another voice in the novel, that of his lover Eva who is deeply involved with Adam and whose emotional world is exposed in her e-mails.
The two meet in Jerusalem. Adam, an Israeli diplomat working at Israel`s New York consulate, and a married man, returns to Jerusalem for his parents’ funeral. While driving a rented car he hits Eva, a doctoral student in astrophysics, and causes her light injuries. This leads to a series of romantic encounters during which Eva becomes pregnant. Adam returns to New York and the two plan to meet at a New York hotel and spend a week together without Adam`s wife knowing. Before their meeting, the two exchange e-mails and Eva tells Adam that she is planning to write her doctoral dissertation on the dark matter in the universe and the force of repulsion that distances galaxies from one another. She says nothing about her pregnancy.
When the two meet again, Eva decides to terminate her pregnancy and takes a pill that will cause her to abort. Adam reacts with lack of sensitivity, not to say indifference, and his thoughts wander off to his previous lover. When Eva starts hemorrhaging he goes to sleep, and when he wakes up he finds her dying on the floor. The ending may be seen as either tragic or comic. Apparently, there is not only dark matter in space, but also in the human psyche. Even when two people are physically close, they remain unfathomable.
Aner Shalev [is one of a few] authors who… confirm the excellent health which Israeli fiction continues to enjoy… This is a particularly entertaining book.
Aner Shalev has written an extraordinary novel, that captivates the reader immediately.
The author surprises the reader all the time with new developments... He plays with fixed ideas that men and women have about one another… and turns their fantasies upside down. The novel functions in a striking manner,
English translation available (for publishers only)