The Blue Mountain: A Novel
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Set in a small rural village prior to the creation of the State of Israel, this funny and hugely imaginative book paints an extraordinary picture of a small community of Ukrainian immigrants as they pioneer a new life in a new land over three generations. Narrated by Baruch, a grandson of one of the founding fathers of the village, this lyrical novel transcends time and place by touching on issues of universal relevance, showcasing the skill of a master storyteller who never fails to entertain.
disaster.’ The commission members looked at him, looked at each other, thanked him politely, and told him he could go. Even after the crowd had dispersed, I couldn’t bring myself to leave the Tsirkin farm. The longer I stood watching, the more stagnant the clear water grew, forming a green nightmare of slime before my eyes. Lured from their lairs by the odour of legend and doubt, sedge and loosestrife sprouted alongside great snails that had waited all their lives for such wet tidings. From his
brandy, they founded the Feyge Levin Workingman’s Circle ‘in order to cheer your grandmother up’. They even voted a budget, wrote a constitution, and composed a preamble to it. ‘The historians never took the Feyge Levin Workingman’s Circle seriously,’ said Meshulam Tsirkin to me. ‘Perhaps it suffered from its name. What serious scholar would write a dissertation on an organisation with a name like that?’ he grinned. ‘Still, it was a living legend among the pioneers. It was the first true commune
Afterwards I can’t sleep for a week. The first time I wanted to climb up after him and throttle him. Now I just want to know who it is. To look him in the eyes and understand.’ As I sipped my tea I put an olive in my mouth. Pinness patted me affectionately. ‘Just like your grandfather, eh? He’s a man worth modelling yourself on. Ya’akov Mirkin is one of a kind. Even here in the village there’s no one else like him. He never went to congresses or lobbied in Jerusalem or galloped off on a horse
cabin. ‘Even Rilov’s wife Tonya admitted that Mahler increased the cows’ milk production,’ Avraham once told me during one of our rare conversations. ‘I was walking in the village one day when the strains of Beethoven drew me irresistibly to your father’s cabin. I went over and peeked in the window. Your father was lying in bed listening to music, his hair a golden haystack on his forehead. He had a phonograph that his parents had sent him from Germany. They managed to get it to him before
through the rooms of my home, the big house I bought after growing up, burying him and his friends in the orchard, becoming rich, and leaving the village. ‘Just me and the child’ – I could not get these words to disappear back into their drawer. I went out to the mowed lawn and lay down facing the shore and the booming surf. I had bought the house and everything in it from a banker who had to leave the country in a hurry. I never knew why, just as I never knew anyone of his ilk and was never