Stupor, by Zeruya Shalev: daughters of Jerusalem, wake up!

REVIEW – An Israeli novel of magnificent depth about the family, the couple, the soul.

In three days, Rachel’s life and that of Atara are turned upside down. When they get to know each other, it’s as if their destiny, which was on hold, is set in motion. Rachel, 90, lives in the Judean Desert, an Israeli colony in occupied territory where she settled in the 1970s with her husband and their sons. A tough, bitter woman. As a teenager, she fought in an extremist Zionist group that fought between 1940 and 1948 for free Palestine from the British – young resistance fighters or terrorists, depending on the point of view one adopts. Atara, 49, thin, black hair, teenage appearance, lives in Haifa, a city where Arabs and Jews coexist, a house with a view of the sea, the sky and the lush vegetation that covers the side of Mount Carmel.

Atara is the wife of Alex, an ironic, exasperating and endearing intellectual. Their explosive relationship was founded on the destruction of each other’s first marriage. They each had a child, they had…

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