A universal story of family and love, friendship and fatherhood, the savage forces of memory, imagination and writing, and the life one leads after losing a loved one—a life that can still prove exciting and surprising.
AT NIGHT’S END
by Nir Baram
Am Oved (Israel), May 2018
A writer wakes up in a hotel room in an unfamiliar city. His clothes are muddy and he doesn’t know how long he’s been lying in bed. He came to participate in a literary festival that is long over—why is he still there? When he desperately attempts to reconstruct his lost days, he learns that he told people at the festival that his best friend had died. Except that his friend is still alive.
This disorienting state launches the story of a profound friendship that begins in childhood and follows the intertwining life paths of two men. Over the decades, their journeys diverge and reconverge, as the imaginary worlds of their early days gradually fade but never vanish. The protagonist, Yonatan, stays on in Mexico City, resisting the unavoidable return to his wife and infant son back home in Tel Aviv. Faced with the terrifying certainty that his closest friend, Yoel, is going to die, he struggles to preserve his sanity. But why does the impending death—which may or may not in fact happen—frighten him so much that he opts to stay in a foreign country far away from his family? And Why doesn’t he believe he can go back to Israel and save his childhood friend?
Largely autobiographical, the narrative travels smoothly back and forth in time to depict a powerful friendship, its inevitable and painful dissolution, and the waning power of youthful imagination. Taking place in Israel, the events unfold under the constant shadow of military service, animosity between Arabs and Jews, and the societal demand that boys be men.
Nir Baram was born into a political family in Jerusalem in 1976. His grandfather and father were both ministers in Israeli Labor Party governments. He began publishing fiction in his twenties, and is the author of ‘The Remaker of Dreams’ (2006), ‘Good People’ (2010) and ‘World Shadow’ (2013). His novels have been translated into 13 languages, were best sellers in Israel and in different countries and received critical acclaims around the world. In the prestigious German newspaper, “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”, Baram was described : “Quite possibly, Dostojewski would write like this if he lived in Israel today”. He published stories and articles in The New yorker, Granta, El pais, Der Spiegel, NRC, Haaretz and other Magazines. Baram has been shortlisted several times for the Sapir Prize (the Israeli Booker), for Rome prize for foreign literature and in 2010 received the Prime Minister’s Award for Hebrew Literature. In 2016 his non fiction best seller book, “In a land beyoned the mountains”, describing his one year journey into the West Bank and East Jerusalem, was published both in Israel and other countries