Twenty-year-old Lily, born on an Israeli kibbutz but raised mostly in Canada, returned to Israel in the mid 1970s to attend college. She became involved with Ari, an army interrogator who has remarkable success getting confessions and intelligence out of Arab and Palestinian prisoners without resorting to the violence that most of his colleagues employ, and has good Palestinian friends outside as well. The work is eating away at him, however, as Lily and Ari's romance progresses toward marriage and parenthood. Ravel's debut novel, related first person by Lily from the 1990s, is remarkably smooth and direct, with almost no unsympathetic characters in a nevertheless tense and dire environment. The author also successfully weaves in much discussion of Hebrew words -- their origins and history -- as well as pop culture references. An excellent read.
This report prepared by David Loftus