Three Floors up

Three Floors up

Book - 2017
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In an upper-middle-class Tel Aviv apartment building, the residents face turmoils, secrets, unreliable confessions, and decisions. On the first floor, Arnon, a tormented retired officer who fought in the First Intifada, confesses to an army friend with a troubled military past how his obsession about his young daughter's safety led him to lose control and put his marriage in peril. Above him lives Hani, whose husband travels the world for his lucrative job while she stays at home with their two children, increasingly isolated and unstable. On the top floor lives a former judge, Devora, who joins a social movement, desperately tries to reconnect with her estranged son, and falls in love with a man who isn't what he seems.
Publisher: New York : Other Press, [2017]
ISBN: 9781590518786
Call Number: NEVO
Characteristics: 283 pages ; 22 cm
Subjects: Israeli fiction.
Hebrew fiction -- Translations into English.
Choice (Psychology) -- Fiction.
Tel Aviv (Israel) -- Fiction.
Domestic fiction.
Additional Contributors: Silverston, Sondra - Translator
Alternative Title: 3 floors up


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Feb 01, 2018

How I found this is a mystery to me - maybe Jewish Book Council, or a blog about recent translations. In any case I feel so lucky to have found it. Three novellas - three tenants of a house in Tel Aviv. They don't have much to do with one another but do flit in and out of each other's lives as neighbors are wont to do.

I was so moved by the stories. I don't know how to describe what Nevo does. His voice feels new to me and I wished the book would just go on and on, adding new characters along the way. All are told in first person and I think all the narrators were lying or at least not quite believable. Scattered throughout are throw-away tidbits of cultural information; for example, how children learn to make cogent and satisfying arguments, the secular distaste for the orthodox and their civil power. Some feel guilt about the occupation.

I think the translator was wonderful. She gets the slang right and as for the Hebrew words sprinkled within, doesn't matter. The little bit of Yiddish I did get. I read Homesick which is the novel preceding this one. Only made it halfway. Want to go one novel back and read Neuland. Eshkol Nevo really feels like a discovery and I can see why he is wildly popular in Israel.


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