il portale dell'ebraismo italiano

The routes of Eden

By Alberto Cavaglion*

I would like to talk about Eshkol Nevo’s latest novel, which has been keeping me company this week (“Le vie dell’Eden”, Einaudi). As for the previous novels, I was not disappointed by it: the three stories of which the book is composed keep you on the edge, expect for the last one, which gives the title to the book, and which is probably too charged with allegorical meanings and weighed down by ornamental Talmudical references. These three rings are bound together by a weak and random link given by one of the characters of the previous story reappearing in the new one.
Nevo’s mastery lies in the psychological analysis of his characters, which are usually troubled with their relationships, overwhelmed by events that are too big for them, especially men, who are portrayed as insecure and losing, while women are always protagonists of their own destiny. The background of Jerusalem’s landscapes is this time emphasized by dense musical references, classical and not.
The Tel Aviv beach turns from the tourist postcard to the disturbing setting of a hallucinogenic rave that took place in the shade of a landfill: is this a symbol of evil swallowing all the weaks and the pures? All three stories are more or less serious legal cases: the storyline turns into a thriller, especially in the first episode, full of twists and turns. Nevo has cinematographic writing, which makes him stand out from Yehoshua and Oz, who seem to be subtler in the inner digging: a swift transition from page to screen is to be expected. Undoubtedly, this is a limit, but readers during and after the pandemic feel the need to be a bit shaken. The author admits in a note that this novel was written during the lockdown. This is the reason why ghosts gracefully move in the every-day life of the Israeli society, which is brighter and livelier than ever.


Translated by Erika Centazzo and revised by Alice Pugliese, students at the Advanced School for Interpreters and Translators of the University of Trieste, interns at the newspaper office of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities – Pagine Ebraiche.