Sunday, May 15, 2016

City of Secrets

Jossi (not his real name, they call him Brand) is driving a taxi (car was stolen, papers faked) in Jerusalem. He is trying to decide who he is and what he stands for. Sometimes he is just trying to help. After tragically losing his parents, his sister, his wife and his friends in the war Jossi made his way to Palestine. It is 1945 and many different factions are fighting the British, fighting the Arabs and at times each other. Jossi battles his inner demons. What is bravery. What is worthwhile. How can he live while everyone else died? How can he possibly be happy ever again? He befriends Eva, who they call The Widow. She leads a secret life keeping company with important men. Together they are part of cell that is trying to help the cause. Jossi, at first included for having a car, becomes useful to the group and then more so. I would not label this story a thriller as some reviews have. We know what happens during these years to these brave souls that lost everything and managed to find the strength to keep fighting for independence and freedom. What is really fantastic about this novel is author Stewart O’Nan. He digs incredibly deep into a simple mans heart. Jossi is easily imagined and his thoughts are palpable. It is a story of just one small man doing his part while figuring out the meaning of it all. The sensitive, poetic writing is easy to read and the characters will not be forgotten. Highly recommend this novel about humankind’s despair between good and evil.

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