Israeli-Arabs are a group whose very definition and existence reflect the changing concerns and priorities of the state of Israel. Shaping their daily lives are the roadblock (now fence) with its guards and Arab workers, their Israeli employers, and their families living on either side. This novel, written by an Israeli-Arab columnist for Ha’aretz, spins the story of a young family man whose life alternates between frantic decisions and lassitude.
Preoccupied with obtaining food and water, he flits between rebellion at his web of parental/in-law relationships, the vicissitudes of political decisions, threatening shows of militarism, the prying of his neighbors, their aberrant and often destructive behavior, and the daily uncertainties of the partially employed.
It is easy to find despair rather than immediate hope here; nevertheless the author’s skill and gentleness leave us with pensive rays of optimism.
Arlene B. Soifer earned degrees in English, and has had many years of experience as a freelance writer, editor, and public relations professional.