cover image Three Floors Up

Three Floors Up

Eshkol Nevo, trans. from the Hebrew by Sondra Silverston. Other Press, $16.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-59051-878-6

Israeli bestseller Nevo (Neuland) returns with a transporting novel about the furtive lives of three tenants in a suburban Tel Aviv apartment building. On the first floor, Arnon attempts to turn the teenage granddaughter of his senile neighbor into a “potential mole” who will discover if the man has molested Arnon’s daughter. The tables are turned when Arnon’s advances are misconstrued, throwing his marriage into jeopardy. On the next floor up, a housewife named Hani, against her absentee husband’s wishes, hides her brother-in-law Eviatar from the loan sharks who are pursuing him. “I don’t have the strength to fake the happiness that is no longer inside me,” Hani writes to a friend, though she admits that something in the way Eviatar “acted with my kids made me feel desire again.” Above her, a retired judge, Devora, dictates messages to her deceased husband about a former Mossad agent intent on reuniting her with an estranged son. Nevo’s narrators range from despicable to endearing, and he handles each with a sure hand, resulting in a multifaceted narrative that is easy to be carried away by. (Oct.)