Polemical, Timely, and Astute, Assaf Gavron's "The Hilltop" Is a Novel of Realism and Comedy

Nov 12, 2014

On this installment of ST, we speak with Assaf Gavron, an Israeli novelist whose widely hailed fiction has been translated into several languages. Gavron's latest novel, newly available in English from Scribner's, is called "The Hilltop." Acclaimed by at least one critic as "the Great Israeli Novel" and winner of the prestigious Bernstein Prize, this ambitious, many-layered, and occasionally quite funny story explores contemporary life in a West Bank settlement. It's a novel that is, as The Wall Street Journal has observed, "brilliantly attuned to the madhouse complexities of the current settlement crisis.... The superbly orchestrated chaos [in Gavron's story] makes this an indispensable novel of, as one character dubs it, the 'Wild West Bank.'" And further, as was noted of this novel is a starred review in Kirkus: "Writing with crisp insight and dry humor, Israeli author Gavron tells a lively tale of life in an embattled Jewish settlement on an arid, rocky West Bank hilltop in this award-winning novel.... Gabi's and Roni's stories unfold gradually, and in the midst of this wise and waggish tale, we may find ourselves feeling unexpectedly invested in these disparate brothers' fates. Slowly and incrementally, like those settlers on that craggy West Bank hilltop, Gavron's story gains a foothold in our hearts and minds and stubbornly refuses to leave."