Bliss: A Novel

December 4, 2020
Bliss: A Novel

Set in Tel Aviv and Paris, a powerful story of love, friendship,regret, and war, as current as today's headlinesRonit Matalon's fiction has been praised as "haunting,""inventive," "refreshingly daring." Now in a graceful, illuminatingsecond novel, she tells a provocative story of two loves, twopartings, two worlds, two women: Ofra and Sarah.When Ofra is called from Tel Aviv to France to attend thefuneral of her beloved cousin Michel, she escapes a life livedvicariously through Sarah, her oldest friend, a photographer andpolitical activist. In Paris, Ofra enters the embrace of her Frenchfamily and the intimate world of domestic life, while Sarah, in TelAviv, drifts even farther from her husband, Udi. Drawn to aPalestinian nationalist, she takes on the fight for a girl fromGaza who has been injured by an Israeli bullet and needs medicaltreatment that can only be had inside Israel. As Sarah adopts thecause with near- destructive zeal and pledges herself to thesuffering of others, her own child goes untended, with dreadfulconsequences for all.Against a backdrop of national conflict, Bliss confronts theterrible dilemma of choosing between one's desires and one'sbeliefs, between grand ideological commitment and the more mundaneclaims of family. With vivid, penetrating prose, Matalon hasdelivered a large and resonant work that is as artful as it isaffecting.