Three Floors up

Three Floors up

eBook - 2017
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Random House, Inc.
Set in an upper-middle-class Tel Aviv apartment building, this best-selling and warmly acclaimed Israeli novel examines the interconnected lives of its residents, whose turmoils, secrets, unreliable confessions, and problematic decisions reveal a society in the midst of an identity crisis.

On the first floor, Arnon, a tormented retired officer who fought in the First Intifada, confesses to an army friend with a troubled military past how his obsession about his young daughter's safety led him to lose control and put his marriage in peril. Above Arnon lives Hani, known as "the widow," whose husband travels the world for his lucrative job while she stays at home with their two children, increasingly isolated and unstable. When her brother-in-law suddenly appears at their door begging her to hide him from loan sharks and the police, she agrees in spite of the risk to her family, if only to bring some emotional excitement into her life. On the top floor lives a former judge, Devora. Eager to start a new life in her retirement, Devora joins a social movement, desperately tries to reconnect with her estranged son, and falls in love with a man who isn't what he seems. 

A brilliant novelist, Eshkol Nevo vividly depicts how the grinding effects of social and political ills play out in the psyche of his flawed yet compelling characters, in often unexpected and explosive ways.

Publisher: New York : Other Press, [2017]
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 1590518799 (electronic bk.)
9781590518793 (electronic bk.)
Branch Call Number: eBOOK FIC NEVO
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Silverston, Sondra - Translator


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Feb 01, 2018

How I found this is a mystery to me - maybe Jewish Book Council, or a blog about recent translations. In any case I feel so lucky to have found it. Three novellas - three tenants of a house in Tel Aviv. They don't have much to do with one another but do flit in and out of each other's lives as neighbors are wont to do.

I was so moved by the stories. I don't know how to describe what Nevo does. His voice feels new to me and I wished the book would just go on and on, adding new characters along the way. All are told in first person and I think all the narrators were lying or at least not quite believable. Scattered throughout are throw-away tidbits of cultural information; for example, how children learn to make cogent and satisfying arguments, the secular distaste for the orthodox and their civil power. Some feel guilt about the occupation.

I think the translator was wonderful. She gets the slang right and as for the Hebrew words sprinkled within, doesn't matter. The little bit of Yiddish I did get. I read Homesick which is the novel preceding this one. Only made it halfway. Want to go one novel back and read Neuland. Eshkol Nevo really feels like a discovery and I can see why he is wildly popular in Israel.


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