Youval Shimoni. The Salt Line [2 vols.]

In 1904, a wounded Russian Jew turns up in northern India on the run from his pursuers and his own conscience. He doesn’t miss anyone—neither his parents nor the pregnant girl he has deserted; his people or his revolutionary comrades. He is cared for by an English doctor who is obsessed with the man who stole his wife from him in Rome, and has devised a scheme to lure his rival, an archeologist, to the region and take revenge on him.
From this twofold infrastructure founded on the betrayal of colleagues and family members, two separate plots emerge. In one, we see acts of terrorism against the Tsar and his ministers, in early 20th century Russia; in the other, a caravan goes into the desert on a private journey of revenge insane but very practical.
The heroes—Russians, British and Indians—range from those who believe in an ideal or a god, to the entirely faithless; from St. Petersburg to a remote district capital in the Indian Himalayas, and from snowy mountains to arid dunes.
A hundred years later when the Russian's grandson comes from Israel in order to investigate his grandfather's disappearance, it is not only the family aspect that motivates him. Slowly, he approaches the misdeeds his grandfather had been implicated in. But the revelations go further and also touch his own life.
What seemed at first to be a story about distant exotic events finally turns its spotlight onto the here and now.
An outstanding novel in which one moment of hesitation, one decision— is repeated—and no one knows if there is a way out.



A magnificent work which harks back both to the dimensions of the genre of the novel when it was at its peak, and to the aspiration to embrace an entire period, and to tell a story. The story is complex … The talent is awesome … The virtuosity Shimoni has required of himself is impressive … It seems that he is conversant with all of the literary ploys that are at the disposal of a writer of prose.

Iton 77


Colorful, rich in imagination and in precisely what it will take to transport you into another world… What will almost certainly capture your hearts will be the way in which the author describes, as if in a movie script, situations that are close to the cinematic.


 You have created a vast world.  You have created a number of worlds. And for two weeks I have been passing through your worlds and on almost every page new vistas are revealed. Vistas  and sounds and smells and tastes as well as threads leading from one world to another page by page.  This vast  book contains some lofty peaks the likes of which I do not know many … A glorious and mighty book. In a few weeks time I shall return to read it … and I shall restrain myself from commencing a rereading right away … In the meanwhile thank you for this wonder.
Author Amos Oz      

This is a book I shall not forget. With patience, acuity and fine discernment, a great canvas of life is spread out in this novel ... The great narrative achievement also contains great ideas. This is a book that asks what human beings have been given by religions and ideologies that have decayed, and what there is in them that cannot decay. It is a book about the passions of the body and the soul that burn within people; engendering beliefs and journeys and torments and stories.

Prof. Nissim Calderon

I read The Salt Line with infinite enjoyment. This is a book whose inventiveness is boundless ... The Salt Line is a rare masterpiece.
Prof. Miki Gluzman


A monumental masterpiece … The novel’s powerful, mature narrative voice produces a flowing read that one follows with unbroken interest … Captivating and engrossing … [Shimoni displays] marvelous skill for telling a story, with power, intensity and rare virtuosity. 


A festival for book-lovers … A special festival for Hebrew-Israeli culture … Shimoni writes with supreme precision and polish, with a sophisticated  technique and complex and credible psychology, and after doing impressive research. This text breathes, it lives and sustains itself … Superbly written.

Yedioth Ahronoth

Shimoni’s ability to shape linguistic constructions are almost never seen in contemporary literature ... [He] expresses profound philosophical and social contents in a rigid and austere narrative framework … Shimoni is a wizard at description and he uses this talent in The Salt Line to express ideas, and not to preach … Shimoni succeeds in enthusing, exciting and enthralling us, and to make us want to take the trek together with him.

Youval Shimoni’s new book is demanding but engrossing … There’s no one who can describe the loss inflicted by the passage of time like Shimoni.

Time Out

This is a novel that is all-encompassing in its content, universal in its message; a serious novel written with a rare skill, and whoever follows the narrative step by step will learn to derive the enjoyment that literature lovers encounter only when reading masterpieces.
Marah & E-Mago

Shimoni has spread a broad canvas for his novel, in the way of the great writers of the past … Shimoni sets a high and universal standard, both innovative and classical, which it is doubtful that any other Israeli writer would be able (or willing) to attain. Shimoni’s achievement is remarkable in the large-scale intellectual structure of the novel, in its faultless artistic weave, in the level of the sentence and the detail, and certainly in the scope and the meticulousness of the basic research … A rare writer, faithful to his art. 


A very surprising novel, flowing, readable, alive.

TV Channel 1

Few novels such as this have been written in literature in general and in Hebrew literature in particular … The Salt Line is a novel that gives the reader a jolt, both intellectual and emotional. Its importance lies in its attempts to observe and understand the functioning of human agency in general and Jewish-Israeli human agency in particular. 

The Brenner Prize Committee

Title The Salt Line
Author’s Last Name Shimoni
Author's First Name Youval
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Am Oved
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2014
No. Pages 969 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Kav Ha-Melach
Representation Represented by ITHL