Photo: Anat Hermony/FLASH90

It may sound crazy, but A. B. Yehoshua has written a page-turner about an aging engineer in the early stages of dementia, which features descriptions of highway construction in great detail.

How on earth did he do this? Well, perhaps it is the honest grappling with what it feels like to be diagnosed with an illness that will eventually erase your personality and knowledge. And surely it is the context of the engineer’s long and loving marriage to a pediatrician, a marriage that is full of humor, understanding, and honesty. And finally, it is the mystery of the secret military highway in the desert, and the textured relationships of two engineers on opposite ends of their career, an army general, and the people who inhabit the negev, whose secret lives are intertwined with the fate of the road.

A. B. Yehoshua, The Tunnel. Translated by Stuart Schoffman. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, August 2020.

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