About the Night

Anat Tal­shir; Evan Fal­l­en­berg, trans.
  • Review
By – June 30, 2016

About the Night, writ­ten by Anat Tal­shir and expert­ly trans­lat­ed by Evan Fal­l­en­berg, unfolds against the back­drop of the wan­ing days of the British Man­date of Pales­tine and runs through the next 59 years, high­light­ing the effects of Israel’s wars of on that country’s populace.

In 1947 the read­er is intro­duced to the suave and ele­gant con­nois­seur and importer of fine teas, 29-year-old Elias Riani, a Chris­t­ian Arab born in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jar­rah neigh­bor­hood. His love inter­est is the beau­ti­ful and ele­gant Miss” Lila, a twen­ty-sev­en-year-old Turk­ish-born Israeli Jew, man­i­curist and con­fi­dante to the Eng­lish nobil­i­ty whose hus­bands are serv­ing in the Holy Land. Lila and Elias are swept up in the great­est romance of their lives despite the reli­gious and cul­tur­al gaps that threat­en it.

When Jerusalem is uni­fied in 1967, Elias search­es for Lila, who to his great sur­prise has wait­ed for him in the small apart­ment she lived in so many years before. Nomi, a Tel-Avi­vian whose life sto­ry is inter­twined between that of Elias and Lila, becomes an inter­ces­sor, bring­ing let­ters to the two lovers.

About the Night is a tale of love lost, found, and ful­ly real­ized against all odds. The nar­ra­tive is roman­tic and unfolds slow­ly, plea­sur­ably, evok­ing the beau­ty of the land of Israel, a beau­ty shared and enjoyed by all its inhab­i­tants, Jews and Arabs alike.

Relat­ed Reads:

Suri Boiangiu recent­ly semi-retired from the posi­tion of assis­tant prin­ci­pal at an all-girls high school. She has either been an admin­is­tra­tor or taught Eng­lish at Yeshiv­ah of Flat­bush and Magen David High School. She loves read­ing mod­ern fic­tion, or any fic­tion, and Ama­zon knows her by her first name.

Discussion Questions