Next Door Neighbor: Eshkol Nevo’s “Three Floors Up”


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Set in a Tel Aviv apartment building, Eshkol Nevo’s newest novel, Three Floors Up, examines a society in crisis, through the turmoils, secrets, unreliable confessions, and problematic decisions of the building’s residents. On the first floor, Arnon, a tormented retired officer who fought in the First Intifada, confesses to an army friend how his obsession with his daughter’s safety led him to lose control and put his marriage in peril. Above Arnon lives Hani, whose husband travels the world for work while she stays at home with their two children, increasingly isolated and unstable. On the top floor lives a former judge, Devora. Retired and eager to start a new life, she joins a social movement, tries to reconnect with her estranged son, and falls in love with a man who isn’t what he seems.

Here is an excerpt from the beginning of the novel:

How can I explain what a person feels at a time likethat? Remember that first time on reserve duty when Ehrlich drove the jeep into that alleyway in Hebron by mistake? Remember when the concrete blocks started raining down on us? And that moron couldn’t put the vehicle into reverse? Take that and multiply it by ten. By a hundred. A thousand. In Hebron, I was pretty calm. I had the feeling we’d get out in one piece. Most of the time, I’m calm under pressure. But here — I’ll tell you the truth — I lost it completely. I yelled at myself while I was driving. Smashed my fists against the wheel.

Text:
Three Floors Up. Sondra Silverston. Otherpress, Oct. 2017.

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