Asaf Schurr’s wonderful fourth novel focuses on an Israeli family in crisis and a remarkable kitten called Vincent. Amikam, a psychologist by profession, is facing a mid-life crisis: he is attracted to one of his patients and is trying to find back his youth with her. Neta, his wife, struggles to keep the family together, but worries that she has not done anything meaningful with her life and that it is too late to change. Their teenage daughter Matti, in conflict with her growing body, suffers from an eating disorder. And their eldest son Uriah hides from the world in the basement, turns to religion and looks after abandoned chicks and kittens. But although he tries to save them, he fails again and again. All four family members are lonely, yet from their fear and suffering grows a great desire for intimacy, which is the novel’s main strength. Amikam, for example, spends nights digging up the bathroom floor so that water will leak into the basement where Uriah is holed up. This is his way of trying to reconnect with his son. Meanwhile, in the basement, a dead kitten called Vincent comes alive and starts to philosophize and utter prophecies, baring in blunt, crude language what is happening in Uriah’s soul. Schurr’s book is a biting, funny parody of a family drama, but it is also a touching and surprisingly delicate work.
Thus Spoke Vincent has a refined sophistication and a spirit of narrative mischief wafts through its pages... It hits just the right note.
A book that is beautifully written, about all the things we hide from one other… Horrifying, how true it rings.
Asaf Schurr’s new book is a model of self-awareness and fluent writing.
Asaf Schurr has once again managed to surprise his readers.