The Sound of Our Steps: A Novel

December 3, 2020
The Sound of Our Steps: A Novel

Gorgeously observed and emotionally powerful, TheSound of Our Steps is an inventive novel of immigration andexile from Ronit Matalon, a major voice in contemporary IsraelifictionIn the beginning there was Lucette, who is the mother to threechildren—Sammy, a gentle giant, almost blind, but a genius withlocks; Corinne, a flighty beauty who cannot keep a job; and "thechild," an afterthought, who strives to make sense of her fracturedEgyptian-Jewish immigrant family. Lucette's children would like akinder, warmer home, but what they have is a government-issuedconcrete box, out in the thorns and sand on the outskirts of TelAviv; and their mother, hard-worn and hardscrabble, who cleanshomes by night and makes school lunches by day. Lucette quarrelswith everybody, speaks only Arabic and French, is scared only ofsnakes, and is as likely to lock her children out as to take in astray dog.The child recounts her years in Lucette's house, where Israel'swars do not intrude and hold no interest. She puzzles at themysteries of her home, why Maurice, her father, a bitterrevolutionary, makes only rare appearances. And why her motherrebuffs the kind rabbi whose home she cleans in his desire to adopther. Always watching, the child comes to fill the holes withconjecture and story.In a masterful accumulation of short, dense scenes, by turnssensual, violent, and darkly humorous, The Sound of OurSteps questions the virtue of a family bound only bynecessity, and suggests that displacement may not lead to a betterlife, but perhaps to art.