Forest Dark’ by Nicole Krausz (Bloomsbury)
From the bestselling, twice Orange Prize-shortlisted, National Book Award-nominated author comes a vibrant tale of transformation: of a man in his later years and a woman novelist, each drawn to Tel Aviv on a journey of self-discovery.
Jules Epstein has vanished from the world. He leaves no trace but a rundown flat in Jaffa patrolled by a solitary cockroach, and a monogrammed briefcase abandoned in the desert. To Epstein’s mystified family, the disappearance of a man whose drive and verve have been a force to be reckoned with for 68 years marks the conclusion of a gradual fading.
His transformation began following his parents’ deaths, and continued with his divorce after more than 35 years of marriage; his retirement from a New York law firm, and the gradual shedding of physical possessions he’d spent a lifetime gathering.With the last of his wealth and a nebulous plan, he departs for the Tel Aviv Hilton.
Meanwhile, a novelist leaves her husband and children behind in Brooklyn and checks into the same hotel, hoping that the view of the pool she used to swim in on childhood holidays will unlock her writer’s block.
But when a older man, claiming to be a retired professor of literature insistently tries to draw her in to a research project involving Kafka, she is lured into a mystery that takes her on a metaphysical journey and changes her in unimaginable ways.
This mesmerising, cleverly and beautifully written novel, offers a wonderful look at how the past influences the present and how metamorphosis is so deeply embedded in self-discovery and realisation. Funny, profound and quite simply an extraordinary read of how to step out of your comfort zone.
By Orielle Berry