01 Oct / The Last Interview by Eshkol Nevo, translated by Sondra Silverston [in Booklist]
Internationally bestselling author Eshkol Nevo and award-winning translator Sondra Silverston are five-for-five in enabling Anglophone readers seamless access to Nevo’s engrossing novels. Reminiscent of the retired judge in his last title, Three Floors Up (2017), who communicated with her dead husband via answering-machine messages, Nevo again creates another inventive structure to tell a story: an internet-site editor contacts a writer with web-collected questions he agrees to answer. “This whole interview – to confess the truth – is an attempt to deal with writer’s block in a different text,” the writer reveals. The queries begin with the mundane – “Did you always know you would be a writer?” – and quickly progress to the intimate, even inappropriate, yet the writer never refuses an answer, albeit not always offering the answer.
A narrative emerges of a peripatetic Israeli writer who returns from a book event in Colombia and confesses a tryst to his no-longer-sleeping wife. While that relationship implodes, the writer reveals other significant emotional disintegrations involving his estranged teenage daughter, his cancer-debilitated best friend, and his missing-for-decades other best friend. And then there’s his writing (or not).
With just enough autobiographical details (the author’s Israeli prime minister grandfather, Levi Eshkol, for example) interwoven to keep readers fixated, Nevo’s latest is a clever, delightfully unreliable, occasionally head-shaking, sometimes eye-rolling portrait of an artist as a not-at-all-young man.
Published: 2019 (Israel), 2020 (United States)