cover image Moving Kings

Moving Kings

Joshua Cohen. Random House, $26 (256p) ISBN 978-0-399-59018-4

Two Israeli soldiers immigrate to New York City to work as eviction movers in this striking, erratic novel from the author of Book of Numbers. The novel’s early sections follow the middle-aged Jewish owner of King’s Moving, David King, an estranged father who invites his 22-year-old cousin, Yoav, to work for him after Yoav’s discharge from the IDF. Following a poignant flashback to David’s lone trip to Israel, the novel focuses on Yoav, first on his fraught military experience, then on the unsmooth transition to American civilian life. The novel then alternates between Yoav’s assimilation and the arduous lack thereof for Uri, another solider from his unit, who eventually comes stateside to work for King’s Moving, leading to a haphazard climax involving a sledgehammer, a gun, and some reactivated military training. The prose achieves a wild brilliance but cannot sustain it, focusing too little on what feels like the beating heart of the story. There are, however, admirable risks to be found on most every page, resulting in an ambitious and thought-provoking read. (July)