The Flight of the Dove
is an innovative novel that reveals an author of extraordinary talent. It has two separate plots, printed on facing pages, which highlight each other. Both take place in Paris during a time span of less than 24 hours. The first describes an American tourist couple spending a vacation after 30 years of marriage. They reach their hotel, go to sleep and spend the next day visiting Notre Dame Cathedral. The second describes a single, lonely Parisian woman who goes to sleep in her apartment, wakes the next morning and also goes to Notre Dame, intending to commit suicide by jumping from the tower. At the end of the novel, the three - maybe four - meet, for the narrator, who knew the suicidal woman and was in love with her, also plays a role.
This structure is not a gimmick because the combination of the two plots gives the work complexity and depth. The story about the tourist couple is written in a linear, realistic style, and reveals with irony their banal lives full of petty details and arguments about distant memories. The tragic story of the young Parisian woman is
is told in stream of consciousness and reveals the inner world of a woman no longer able to stand the pointlessness of existence, and seeking redemption through the act of suicide. This act is likened to the flight of the dove from the height of the cathedral to land on the pavement.
Quite an astonishing first novel … What can possibly bring together the elderly
tourist couple, a tad embittered, depicted with nearly obsessive precision, and the young woman preparing to live out the last day of her life? To find out, the reader is advised to read two stories simultaneously, so as to be taken over by a writing which moves, by a single stroke, from cool, implacable description, to a dreamlike spellbinding lament.
A beautiful first novel.
Shimoni’s writing is honed and polished ... This novel is a literary achievement in its innovative approach, its maturity, and the fullness of its style.
Youval Shimoni’s first book is an important literary event.
A great achievement … This is a deep, poetic and beautiful novel. Reading it is a very moving experience.
Author Batya Gur