When literature professor Joseph Licht invites his five adult sons to celebrate his 50th birthday in 1996 Tel Aviv, he hopes to win his boys' love and forgiveness by plying them with their favorite foods. From that opening in Fallenberg's ambitious debut, Joseph's life unfolds in retrospect: 20 years earlier, as a married father of five, Joseph discovers he is gay as he falls in love with a charismatic, and married, rabbi. The rabbi kills himself not long after he and Joseph start their affair, and a crushed Joseph, in one fell swoop, jettisons his marriage and adherence to Modern Orthodox Judaism. The familial repercussions are myriad and extreme, leaving Joseph's wife bereft and his sons with issues that range from low self-esteem and lack of trust to fanatical nationalism and religiosity. While Joseph and the rabbi's lovemaking is sentimentalized, and Joseph's and one son's homosexual awakenings seem abrupt, Fallenberg's descriptions of Israeli life, from the rural and academic arenas to the gay milieu, are credible and absorbing. The book adroitly sketches the heartfelt struggles of a sympathetic cast. (Jan.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
A story about fathers and sons, faith and sexuality.
Fallenberg (creative writing, Bar-Ilan Univ., Israel), who has translated the works of several renowned Israeli authors, presents his first novel, which takes place in 1996 Tel Aviv on the eve of literature professor Joseph Licht's 50th birthday. As Joseph prepares to reunite with his five sons for the first time in 20 years since he left their mother for a prominent male rabbi, flashbacks enlighten us as to the circumstances of his choice as well as to the characters of his sons, who serve as a bizarre microcosm of Israeli society, ranging from the completely secular to the ultra-Orthodox. After so much buildup, the denouement feels somewhat rushed, and several characters are little more than stereotypes. But Joseph's story, in which he eventually realizes his desires, is a compelling one. Recommended for general fiction collections.
- Soho Press, Incorporated
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.26(w) x 8.31(h) x 0.87(d)
Meet the Author
Evan Fallenberg is a native of Cleveland, Ohio and has lived in Israel since 1985, where he is a writer, teacher and translator. His recent translations include novels by Batya Gur, Meir Shalev and Ron Leshem. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and the Vermont College MFA program. LIGHT FELL is his first novel.
More from this Author
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >