Ten Thousand Lovers [Edeet Ravel]

Penulis/Author: Edeet Ravel (2003)
Penerbit/Publisher: Review
Cetakan/Edition: Hardback, 2003
Kategori/Category: General Fiction
ISBN: 0-7553-0370-9

Lily met Ami while she was hitchiking from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv on one weekend. Lily was a young emigrant university student from Canada. Ami gave her a ride and fell in love with her at the first meeting. It was told that things work straight forward on the Israelis’ custom. It is quite common for them to express their interest on something or someone instantlywithout being considered rude.

At the beginning, Lily was unsure about Ami, especially about his job as the prisoners’ interrogator within the army. Nevertheless, with Ami’s persistence supported by his great personality, Lily was convinced that Ami is a good person. To make things also certain for the institution that Ami worked for, Lily had to go through a “security” interview to make sure that she wasn’t a spy. They fell in love to each other, she got pregnant and they got married.

The whole novel went to and fro between their times in Israel and the later time when Lily was older, alone and lived in London. It went to and fro between their romace and personal relationship, about Ami’s job and the political situation that surrounded their lives, as well as Lily’s life with her dancer daughter in London past Ami’s execution. Almost every new chapter was prologued by a linguistic explanation of Hebrew or Arabic, subject that Lily had taken on the university, subjects that Ami had spoken quite well.

Ya-allah is Arabic, of course. Ya is an Arabic particle, similar in usage to “O” in English (as in, “O Pyramus” or “O wall”). Placed in front of a name in everyday speech (e.g., ya-Asaf) it’s emphatic and means something like “Yes, you, my friend, I’m talking to you.” You wouldn’t think ya-allah would be a favored phrase among Israelis, but it is. You use it the way you’d use the expletory “God” or “Christ” in English (page 3).

It seems to me that the author was trying to use the underlying meaning of those ancient words to prelude each story (to make them more interesting?) thus readers have to read between the lines. Some people may find it interesting, while I, found it confusing. The story, although is warm and romantic, is actually flat with no climax. The whole novel went really slow with excessive liguistic explanation. Everything ended when I closed the book and I wasn’t given the chance to wonder what’s happening afterwards. There’s no space for it.

I would think the whole novel reflected the author’s personal life experience or, more or less, used her as the role model for the main character. This is the first novel written by Edeet Ravel, a Canadian-Israeli author. She currently has published 4 titles of novels and another one will due soon in 2006.


2 thoughts on “Ten Thousand Lovers [Edeet Ravel]

  1. On a second thought, I think the novel is patriotic. Using war as a background, it was dilemmatic for Lily & Ami about their political views and sides. They hoped for a peaceful life yet they had to stand up straight when their country asked them a favour. Ami is one of the example. How he had served the army dutifully and how he had died by execution because he refused to continue doing what he was doing.

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