Thursday, August 27, 2020

Journey into Bulgarian History and a Thrilling Crime Story

For many readers in United States, Bulgaria is a strange and mysterious land. A small European country with around 7 million population, most of them speak Bulgarian, a major Slavic language after Russian and Ukrainian. Only recently attain its democracy 20 years ago, joined the European Union at 2007. For most American readers, Bulgaria would probably perceived as just an insignificant country in Europe.

Yet, Mr. Shuman, former Editor in Chief of Israel Insider and’s Israel Culture Guide, told us how false our perception can be. In “Valley of Thracians”, we are guided into a wonderful journey into ancient Bulgarian history, a thrilling crime story and a memorable adventure.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Review of 'Three' by D. A. Mishani

There are three women at the heart of Israeli crime writer D.A. Mishani’s new novel Three, translated by Jessica Cohen (Europa Editions, August 2020). Orna is a single mother raising a young son still traumatized by his parents’ divorce. Emilia is a live-in caregiver from Latvia who is trying to find herself after the elderly man she cared for died. And Ella is married, the mother of three, who is writing her university thesis. Three women with nothing in common, except for the same strange man who comes into their lives.

Orna meets Gil on a dating site for divorced singles. After online chats they meet up. Orna is surprised at how patient Gil is, at how he seems like he has all the time in the world to develop their connection. He doesn’t pressure her, and their phone conversations are so short that Orna wonders why they are talking on the phone at all. Still, they continue to talk and when they meet on a date it is Orna who suggests that they become intimate. Gil’s seeming reluctance to pursue their affair makes one curious as to why their relationship ends up the way it does.

Emilia needs to look for a job after 84-year-old Nachum dies. Nachum’s wife and children assure her that she can remain in her small room until she finds new work. A part-time position opens up, but Emilia would have to do it for cash, without permits. Nachum’s wife suggests that Emilia talk to her son Gil, a lawyer. Gil, she says, will make sure Emilia doesn’t get deported from Israel. Gil asks Emilia to clean his apartment and she agrees. In her free time, Emilia goes to church services, trying to find spiritual meaning to her life. She asks herself if she should go back to Latvia, but what she doesn’t ask herself is why she let herself fall under Gil’s spell.