Magazine article New Internationalist

Husband and Wife

Magazine article New Internationalist

Husband and Wife

Article excerpt

Zeruya Shalev's novel opens in dramatic fashion. Udi Newman, a fit and healthy Israeli tour guide wakes one morning and announces that he can no longer use his legs. The condition quickly spreads to his upper body and arms and his panic-stricken wife Na'ama takes him to hospital. All physical tests prove negative and Udi is admitted to the psychiatric ward, under suspicion of inventing his symptoms. He is, it is suggested, on strike from his roles as husband to Na'ama and father to 10-year-old Noga, deliberately withdrawing from all responsibilities in this `tense, stifling house'.

From this shattering beginning the novel spirals out into a kaleidoscopic picture of this couple's life together and it becomes clear that all is far from well in the marriage. In clipped sentences that speak of an individual desperately clinging on to the last vestiges of self-control, Na'ama tells of how their love gradually deteriorated into a mutually destructive relationship. …

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