A.B. Yehoshua weaves a masterful and deeply moving story of pointed social commentary, intriguing metaphor, and wry, wistful humour.
Zvi Luria has begun to lose his memory. He's 73 and a retired road engineer. His neurologist hints at the path his illness might take and suggests ways of combatting it, with the help of his wife Dina.
Dina, a respected paediatrician, is keen for him to return to meaningful activity, and suggests he volunteers to work with his old colleagues at the Israel Roads Authority.
This is how Luria finds himself at the Ramon Crater in the Negev desert discussing building a secret road for the army with the son of his former colleague Assael Maimoni.
But there's a mystery about a certain hill on the route of the planned new road. Who are the secret people living there? Are they really Palestinian refugees and, if so, why are they trapped there? Why is everyone so reluctant to disclose the reason for their presence?
With humour and great tenderness, A.B. Yehoshua depicts the love between Luria and his wife as together they confront the challenges of his illness. As Luria's identity is more and more compromised, so too do his boundaries seem to dissolve as he finds himself on a picaresque adventure involving people in Israel he's never before thought of or paid attention to, enabling a rich meditation on the entwined identities and destinies of Israeli Jews and Palestinians.
Yehoshua weaves a masterful and deeply moving story of pointed social commentary, intriguing metaphor, and wry, wistful humour.