Tale of Two Friends: “Bliss” by Ronit Matalon

Ronit Matalon’s Bliss: A Novel revolves around two friends: Sarah, a politically active photographer, and Ofra, a selfless graduate student. The story is told in flashbacks as Ofra is summoned from Tel Aviv to a provincial township near Paris for a funeral. While there, Ofra, and we, the readers, learn about the collapse of Sarah’s marriage.

Here is an excerpt from the novel:

Sarah closed her eyes in surrender to the music. “It really is unlike anything else,” she said.

Michel and I exchanged glances. She was completely tone-deaf and couldn’t tell the difference between the theme song from the nightly news and Bruce Springsteen, a
Hebrew folk song and the overture to Don Giovanni. She heard it all as one cacophonous mess.

“It’s because she has so much inner noise,” Michel explained.

On one of his previous visits a few years earlier, he had accepted an invitation to join her on a tour of Gaza and had endured Channel 2 and Army Radio the whole way.
“She has constant inner noise.”

BLISS. By Ronit Matalon. Translated by Jessica Cohen. New York: Metropolitan Books/ Henry Holt & Company, 2003.

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