The setting as a big part of what I loved about the story. People try to do stories of this kind in made-up scenarios and though some work, using the events that transpired in Jerusalem in the middle of the last century is just genius. There were so many things that I never quite understood about that era that can’t really be described in a typical history class type setting. It was so well addressed here while never allowing the events of the day to interfere with the story or seem like it existed solely to explain the conflict. It was just a part of the world, the way the tension was between the two groups, the way that lives were destroyed.
I loved the characters. I feel like I really understood them and their motives. They had a level depth that is rare in any story. I’m sure that this is in part due to that the reader knew most of their entire lives by the end, but none of that was delivered in a strained way. It just flowed naturally through the story. The writing was just amazing. It made the shifting points of view and times feel natural. I’m not a fan of frame type stories, and this one could have been written that way, but the style was just a bit different. Elias was telling the story to Nomi, but they’re written as flashbacks and not one person explaining it to another, which I thought worked much better.
This was the first book I finished during this year’s Women in Translation month, and it’s actually my first translated fiction ever. I don’t quite know what I was expecting, but it never felt translated or like the language was forced in any way. Fallenberg, the translator, did a great job and he seems has done at least nine other translations. Check the out here.