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.