2108 Meir Shalev – Two She-Bears

Usually I feel relieved when I finish another book. Relieved and orphaned, lonely, free, but homeless. The time to the next book must be bridged. Even after reading Two she-bears, the incomparably beautiful novel by Meir Shalev, these feelings will still arise, but for now I am only glad that I finished it.

What a great book. That can only be disappointing, if you start it yourself, I think, but it must be said anyway. It is a book that is difficult to conquer. In the beginning it is slow like treacle. Sweet, thick syrup, yes, but you only get through it slowly, while letting go is impossible. The story spans you, catches you in her arms, weaves a web around you and then, the moment it gets dark, and you are completely trapped in the cocoon of this blood-curdling history, the story itself crawls out of you like a butterfly. from her cocoon and she polishes her wings, shakes them and soars into the air, which becomes a heaven with her butterfly stroke. At that point the story has become an unparalleled page turner.

It is a story that takes place in Israel, it starts about a hundred years ago in the first ancient colonies and it continues to the present day. It is a report of a family, of a few families I must say because they get married and there are neighbors. There is love and death, infidelity and revenge, birth and mourning, negligence, innocence, penance and punishment. And there is life, unstoppable life that struggles through everything and crawls out from under everything.

And there is death, worse than the death of dying, there is the death of vengeance and obsession, of wounded love and broken pride, which is harder than stone and sharper than a knife. Take your time and sit down for it. You will not be rid of it for the time being, but you will not be able to put it down or let go, this family history, which is more than a story, which is the prelude to silence.

Ate O. Vegter, March 22, 2021

Read: 2 Kings 2: 23-24

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