‘The Hilltop’ shows us the view from both sides of the separation wall – Israel in Translation

 

Assaf Gavron’s novel The Hilltop follows the lifespan of an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank which, as in a fairytale, comes into being ostensibly to satisfy a woman and child’s innocent longing for salad greens.

The narrative follows two orphaned brothers who find themselves on the settlement for different reasons, and geographically we’re taken from Ma’aleh Hermesch C to Tel Aviv, New York City, and Miami. We move in and out of government agencies and meetings, and at protests we find ourselves on both sides of the proposed separation wall. Ironically, the only thing both sides can agree upon is that the fence should not go up.

Assaf displays a deep understanding of what motivates peoples and societies. “Longing is the engine of the world,” one character says, and the book portrays the varieties of human longing with dexterity and humor.

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Texts:

The Hilltop, by Assaf Gavron. Translated by Steven Cohen. Scribner (Nov. 2014).

Further reading:

Almost Dead, by Assaf Gavron. Translated by Assaf Gavron & James Lever. Harper (2006).

Tel Aviv Noir, edited by Assaf Gavron & Etgar Keret. Akashic (Oct. 2014)

 

Music:

Leonard Cohen – Everybody Knows

The Mouth and Foot – Shluck Beton; Candy Store

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