(It's been some time since I last read a book in Hebrew !)

The novel is told from a view-point of Baruch Mirkin, narrating his memories about his family and the life of a small village in pre-independence Israel. The father of the Mirkin family came in the "2nd repatriation" from Russia to Israel in the early years of the 20th century. Like many young repatriants, he worked at odd farm jobs and later settled on a land of his own, establishing a small village based mainly on agriculture. The historic value of this book is immense. I learned more about the intrinsics of the lives of people back then from the book than from history lessons in high-schools. The descriptions are very detailed and focus on many aspects of the villagers' lives - their work, agriculture, relationship with the British rule, the surrounding kibutzes and Arab villages, and of course the inter-relations inside the village itself.

This book belongs to a very special set of books which have no well-defined plot, but that are interesting to read anyhow. Another such book is "100 years of solitude", and in fact "A Russian novel" has many similarities with Marques' masterpiece. Actually, I read in reviews that Shalev was deeply influenced from the work of the Columbian master.

Being plot-less, the book is certainly not of those fast-moving novels you can't put down. But its historic value is immense to any Israeli (and generally anyone with an interest in the early history of this country), so it's highly recommended.


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