On a hot summer day in 1947, on a grandstand overlooking Jerusalem, Elias and Lila fall deeply, irrevocably in love.
Tragically, they come from two different worlds. Elias is a Christian Arab living on the eastern side of the newly divided city, and Lila is a Jew living on the western side. A growing conflict between their cultures casts a heavy shadow over the region and their burgeoning relationship. Between them lie not only a wall of stone and barbed wire but also the bitter enmity of two nations at war.
Told in the voice of Elias as he looks back upon the long years of his life, “About the Night” is a timely story of how hope can nourish us, loss can devastate us, and love can carry us beyond the boundaries that hold human beings apart. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)
This book is whimsical and endearing, but never felt overwhelming so I found myself picking up and putting down the book as I wanted. The story is first and foremost a love story, but has very strong historical context that drives the conflict and subsequent changes. I absolutely adored the historical aspects because it was unlike anything else I have read. It gives a window into the challenge that people had to live through and the isolation that many of them felt.
The love story, I struggled with a lot more. The majority of the reason is because the choices the main characters made still causes pain to others in the story. It may be realistic, but it put a black cloud over the rest of the book for me. The beginning, however, is lovely and for that reason alone I’d say it’s still worth a read.
Warning: Contains references to sexual content and violence.
Rating: 4 stars!
Who should read it? Folks looking for a taste of the culture in Jerusalem in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s set with the romantic tone.