I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
Three childhood friends who grew up together in 1950s Israel meet 30 years later, and find themselves worlds apart from the boys they once were as war and terrorism fight a bloody battle in author Avner Tavori’s “Dead End Summer: A Political Novel”.
Is equality essential for justice to prevail?
What happens if whole countries become lawless?
These are questions central to the plot that caused three men to move far away from each other, only to meet again one day, and face those existential questions head on.
Gavri, Chaim and Uzi were born as Israel became an independent country. They grew up in the Israel of the 1950’s, attended the same school, were involved with the same youth movement, and became close friends. However, thirty years later, in the summer of 1982, they find themselves as far away from each other as it is possible to be.
Gavri, who has become an influential photojournalist, is embedded with the Israeli troops that invaded Lebanon in the summer of 1982. He is covering the war there, and experiencing a country that has become lawless following years of conflict and civil war. Self-described as politically ‘leftist’, Gavri is horrified by the implications of a lawless society becoming a legitimate choice.
Chaim, moderately religious, has become radicalized over the years, and is now one of the leaders of the Settler movement in the Occupied West Bank. He finds himself entangled in a murder plot when a group of young Settlers plant a bomb that kills the mayor of a small Palestinian town.
Uzi has grown up to become a right-wing Jewish Nationalist and a prominent professional in ShinBet – Israel’s most powerful national security apparatus. A believer in the supremacy of ‘Law and Order’ in society, as well as in his personal and professional life, he is resentful of any attempt to manipulate his basic core values and is horrified by an attempt to place Settlers above the law.
During the summer of 1982, with war raging in Lebanon, and the cycle of Palestinian terrorist attacks reaching one of its peaks, settlers in the West Bank take matters into their own hands.
It is at this point in history that the three childhood friends meet again and are forced to make choices in the most dramatic of circumstances.
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The first thing that struck me about this incredible novel was the authenticity that the author brought to the story. As a former war correspondent, the author was able to bring vivid imagery and a gritty atmosphere to the war-torn setting that this narrative takes place in. The historical fiction aspect of this story really draws in the reader as it captures a period of history rarely examined in a public forum, and highlights the intimate struggles of all sides of the conflict in an honest way.
The character development and simply profound themes really elevated this novel to new heights in this genre. The close examination of these three friends and the very different paths they went down was extraordinary. The multiple philosophies and worldviews the author explores through Gavri and his friendships turned strained relationships with both Chaim and Uzi allowed the powerful themes to come to life so naturally, highlighting the ways in which opposing worldviews can often lead to violence and turmoil, and sometimes the hardest path is finding the common ground in any situation.
Thought-provoking, heartfelt, and captivating, author Avner Tavori’s “Dead End Summer: A Political Novel” is a must-read historical fiction novel. The twists and turns in the narrative and the importance of culture and philosophy on the characters and their viewpoints and interactions made this one story that I couldn’t put down. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!
About the Author
AVNER TAVORI has actually lived in the world he describes in his novel. In 1982 he was a war correspondent in Lebanon and spent more than three months with the advancing Israeli troops, and with units of the Christian Militia in Beirut.
He was born in 1947, in what was then British Palestine, and grew up in the Israel of the 1950’s in the socialist environment, typical of the time, in his hometown of Haifa. After completing his mandatory military service in the Parachute Brigade of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), he served a short stint as a Desk-Officer in the Jerusalem headquarters of ShinBet – Israel’s National Security Service – and coordinated field operations in the occupied West Bank.
As a journalist (1970-1986) he was the political correspondent for Israel’s Public Radio (Kol Israel) and covered the inner workings of Israel’s political scene. He also worked for the daily newspaper, DAVAR, and published opinion pieces on a variety of issues.
In the 1990’s he worked for the Israeli Labor Party, and then Rabin’s Government, culminating in being appointed to the position of Press Secretary for the Israeli Ambassador to the UN in New York.
He now lives in New York City. He can be reached at, email@example.com