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Latest Review: "Homesick" by Eshkol Nevo

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Monica Carter on Eshkol Nevo’s Homesick, translated from the Hebrew by Sondra Silverston and published earlier this year by Dalkey Archive.

Monica is a regular contributor to Three Percent, and runs her own excellent website, Salonica.

Eshkol Nevo’s book is the first (?) in Dalkey’s Hebrew Literature Series. (I think. The Dalkey site is a bitch to navigate.) Monica makes it sound really interesting, and if you want more info on Nevo and Homesick, visit the author page, scroll down, and
watch the video interview/presentation. (Dead horse beating as always, but it would be a lot easier if, like with most other videos on the internet, I could embed that interview right here. But ah well.)

Here’s the opening of Monica’s review:

Eshkol Nevo has plumbed the emotional depths of the word “homesick” and come up with gratifying homage to the feeling of longing. As a member of the new guard of Israeli writers, Homesick is Nevo’s first translation into English. And what a fine choice it is to introduce English-speaking readers to Hebrew culture and literature. What many of us know about Israel is what we read in the media as well as what we watch on television—lots of discord and bloodshed, the constant search for peace. This book avoids any political message, instead focusing on the lives of the characters that are searching for their own version of peace.

A stratum of stories and viewpoints, Homesick delves into the tensions between loss and compromise, discontent and hope, self-perception and desire during the year of 1995 when Rabin was assassinated. It begins with Amir and Noa, a young student couple who are moving into an apartment in a house owned by the Zakian family. The house is in the area known as Castel, situated between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Nevo follows the lives of everyone in the house—Sima and Moshe Zakian, a young couple with two small children and Moshe’s parents, Avram and Gina. Added to this intimate variety of viewpoints are the young boy next door, Yotam, and his parents whose family just suffered the loss of their son, Gidi, to the war in Lebanon. There is also Saddiq, a construction worker, who lived in the Zakian house many years ago and frequent epistolary appearances from Amir’s friend, Modi. This may seem like a cavalcade of characters that could be overwhelming but it is tempered by Nevo’s short, incisive entries in each character’s voice. What’s even more impressive is that Nevo alternates these voices between first and third person to help the reader immediately identify the character. Focusing mostly on the interiority of the characters allows us to oscillate between voices and viewpoints while we learn the subtleties of each character’s psyche.

Click here to read the full review.



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