Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Eden by Yael Hedaya

Eden was written originally in Hebrew by a contemporary Israeli writer and translated into English. I thought it sounded like something really different from my usual fare and my book club was reading it, so I dove right in. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this.

Eden is the name of a (fictional) moshav, a type of cooperative agricultural community in Israel similar to a kibbutz. Like many of these communities, Eden has had to struggle to find a new mission for itself in contemporary Israel, where the economic realities mean that most residents work outside the moshav. Fortuitously, Eden is located within easy driving distance of Tel Aviv, so it has reinvented itself as a suburb undergoing gentrification. The simple old moshav houses are being remodeled into McMansions and the community pays Thai immigrants to work in its fruit orchards. This leaves the children and grandchildren of the moshav’s founders free to engage in all manner of first world activities: we have disaffected teenagers, couples who are cheating on each other, and nasty neighbors with secret lives. Most of the book’s action could have been set in the San Fernando Valley, or the Long Island suburbs. Blech. I really don’t like books about suburban ennui, whether the suburbs are in the U.S. or, it turns out, in modern day Israel.

I never ended up going to the book club meeting because it was the same time as my last-ever back-to-school night, so I don't know what anyone else thought of this. Did people like it?

(Book 28, 2011)

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Prasetyo said...
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