I discovered a new author a couple of weeks ago. Evan Fallenberg. He has written two books and has translated a few from Hebrew to English. I read his two novels, and I adore them.
Light Fell, his first novel, is about a fifty year old man hosting a family reunion with his five sons, having not been at a gathering with all of them together since he left his wife for a man twenty years before. Set in Israel, this book focuses on the tension between sexuality and religion and reveals the truth of love and forgiveness.
When We Danced on Water, his second novel, is also set in Israel. There is a long, tense flashback to World War II in Berlin and Poland. The two main characters, 40-something waitress Vivi and ballet dance choreographer Teo, both have difficult pasts drenched in war and obsession. The ending to this book, the last two chapters, I didn’t quite understand, but it did not ruin the story for me in the least.
Evan Fallenberg is an amazingly talented writer. His language is the most beautiful I have ever read. His diction and voice are brilliant. I think I started crying on the second page, that’s how beautiful the writing is. I started reading When We Danced on Water because it was one of the last books I bought from Borders before it closed, when there were about 100 books left in the store and were 90% off, not thinking much of it when reading the blurb on the back. I was swept off my feet in surprise at this book, and I realize that I would not have even given it a second look if it hadn’t been two bucks in the closing sale. After reading this book, I couldn’t stop thinking about it for three days and had to go online and order Light Fell just to see what else this guy had to say, and I am glad to say that I love Light Fell just as much When We Danced on Water, maybe even more.
This author is very brave. Homosexuality, Judaism, rape, and war are just a few of the things he explores in his two novels. After reading his books, I have learned a lot about the risks writers take and the passion that is necessary to write a novel. The minute this guy publishes his third book, I’m buying it.