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The Hilltop by Assaf Gavron
  

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

We are in a Jewish settlement on the West Bank, present day. Its patriarch is Athniel Assis, a wheeler dealer who is adept at playing the system and various bits of the Government off against each other. It turns out the area must be evacuated. There is lots going on here and Gavron gives a lively and engaging account of it all entirely from the Jewish (indeed Zionist) point of view. The issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank seems pretty black and white when we see it on the news; Gavron portrays it as a messy, chaotic business taking us inside the lives of the settlers. There are a number of entwining stories, some absurd, some serious, some political, some personal, plus the lives of two lads on a kibbutz told in flashback. An important book on a big subject.

If you like Assaf Gavron you might also like to read books by Rula Jebreal and Jaspreet Singh.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

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Synopsis

The Hilltop by Assaf Gavron

Hailed as The Great Israeli Novel (Time Out Tel Aviv) and winner of the prestigious Bernstein Prize, The Hilltop is a monumental and daring work about life in a West Bank settlement from one of Israel's most acclaimed young novelists. On a rocky, beautiful hilltop stands Ma'aleh Hermesh C, a fledgling community flying under the radar. According to the government it doesn't exist; according to the military it must be defended. On this contested land, Othniel Assis - under the wary gaze of the neighbouring Palestinian village - plants asparagus, rocket and cherry tomatoes, and he installs goats - and his ever-expanding family. As Othniel cheerfully manipulates government agencies, more settlers arrive, and, amid a hodge-podge of shipping containers and mobile homes, the outpost takes root. One of the settlement's steadfast residents is Gabi Kupper, a one-time free spirit and kibbutz-dweller, who undergoes a religious awakening. The delicate routines of Gabi's new life are thrown into turmoil with the sudden arrival of Roni, his prodigal brother, who, years after venturing to America in search of fortune, arrives at Gabi's door, penniless. To the settlement's dismay, Roni soon hatches a plan to sell the artisanal olive oil from the Palestinian village to Tel Aviv yuppies. When a curious Washington Post correspondent stumbles into their midst, Ma'aleh Hermesh C becomes the focus of an international diplomatic scandal and faces its greatest test yet. By turns serious and satirical, The Hilltop brilliantly skewers the complex, often absurd reality of life in Israel, and makes a startling parallel between today's settlements and the kibbutz movement of Gabi and Roni's youth. Rich with humour and insight, Assaf Gavron's novel is the first to grapple with one of the most charged geo-political issues of our time.

Reviews

'The Hilltop is a very funny novel. And it is a very political novel, firing sharp poisoned barbs in all directions'
Haaretz Books Supplement

'The new Great Israeli Novel'
Time Out, Tel Aviv

'Assaf Gavron allows us to understand the political situation in the Middle East in careful, profound and nuanced terms. He is unafraid to go into zones of conflict and find the essential human contradictions there. Gavron's work is engaging in the way that all good literature entertains - it is, in fact, very funny - but it also has lasting purpose. He is one of the most agile and necessary voices of contemporary Israeli literature.'
Colum McCann, National Book Award

-winning author of Let the Great World Spin and TransAtlantic 'Assaf Gavron is one of the most original and powerful writers on the Israeli scene. His clear and honest writing blasts right through the cliches and the politically correct surface to touch the chaotic, ambiguous core of the Israeli identity. The Hilltop is Gavron's latest and most impressive attempt to map the Israeli society. His perspective is a must-read for every seriously curious reader.
Etgar Keret, author of The Nimrod Flipout and Suddenly, a Knock at the Door

'Shimmers with wisdom, truth, humor, and melancholy.'
Amos Oz, multi award

-winning Israeli author 'It is no exaggeration to say that Assaf Gavron is the most exciting, inventive, and though-provoking Israeli novelist of our generation. I loved this book.
Reza Aslan, bestselling Iranian

-American author of No god but God 'Memorable...marked by its great depth of feeling.
Publishers Weekly In The Hilltop, Gavron

's unique gift is on full display in all of its eccentric, genre-bending glory. He treads the line between the serious and the absurd, the tragic and the comical, the sincere and the satirical, and creates a sweeping, complex story that raises more questions than it provides answers. -- Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner Memorable...marked by its great depth of feeling. Publishers Weekly 'This many-storied, funny, shrewd, and tender satire dives into the heart of Israel, a land of trauma and zeal, fierce opinions and endless deliberation. From failed marriages to governmental dysfunction to the tragic Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Gavron's spirited desert saga embraces the absurd and the profound and advocates for compassion and forgiveness, even joy.'
Booklist (STARRED review)

About the Author

Assaf Gavron is a writer and translator. He grew up in Jerusalem, studied in London and Vancouver, and now lives in Tel Aviv. In Israel has published four novels, a short story collection, and a collection of falafel reviews.

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Book Info

Publication date

6th November 2014

Author

Assaf Gavron

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Author's Website

assafgavron.com/

Publisher

Oneworld Publications

Format

Hardback
464 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9781780745572

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