and disturbing thriller.
After surviving the holocaust, Brand, a Latvian Jew, has moved
to Jerusalem where he drives a taxi servicing tourists visiting
the Sacred sites. Every Monday he takes Eva to her appointments
to bed and, he assumes, spy on British officials. Eva is also
a survivor, and a member of the same cell of the Haganah,
the Jewish Defence Organization, that helped Brand to come
to Jerusalem and provided him with a false identity.
Brand falls for Eva, and maybe Eva for him too, but they are
both too damaged by the memories of their previous partners
to own their feelings. And even if they dared to do so, the
Jerusalem they live in is too ripe with conflict to allow
them a respite. There are bombs to be made and deliver, wounded
men to be carried to safety, comrades to silence, and an enemy,
the British, to harass.
Although the story is told in third person, it stays always
on Brand's point of view, which is both good and bad. It's
good because it gives immediacy to the story. It's bad because
Brand is dealing with survivor guilt over the death of his
family and friends during the war, and is unable to reach
out and connect with others. This makes it difficult for the
reader to relate to him or to any of the characters. The fact
that the historical background of the situation in Jerusalem
at the time is not explained, and Brand himself is never sure
of what is going on within or outside his cell, doesn't help
Overall the story is haunting, and the ambiguity of its narrative
makes the eternal question of whether violence can be justified
in certain situations, and if so, who is qualified to make
the call, a powerful and compelling one.