Beaufort

Ron Leshem, Author, Evan Fallenberg, Translator Delacorte Press $24 (368p) ISBN 978-0-553-80682-3
In this gritty war novel, Leshem chronicles the tumultuous year leading up to Israel's 2000 withdrawal from Southern Lebanon. The story is told through the eyes of 21-year-old squadron leader, Liraz Liberti (aka Erez), who is tasked with shepherding a motley group of 13 ""kids"" through their military tours at the historic Israeli outpost, Beaufort. As the violence at Beaufort increases and the day of the withdrawal approaches, those stationed at the outpost try to ward off ""eatenness"" (fear) and a nagging sense of the futility of manning an outpost about to be closed down. Rather than dwell on the politics behind Israel's conflict with Hezbollah, Leshem focuses on the soldiers' slang-heavy language (those who are scared are ""strawberry pissers""; a dumb soldier is a ""hummus"") and the thickening camaraderie to give readers remarkably visceral access to the isolated outpost. The anxiety and fear are palpable throughout Leshem's vivid novel-you can practically feel the shells explode.
Reviewed on: 12/03/2007
Release date: 12/01/2007
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