According to Israeli-born Mikhael Shuster, there are two kinds of people: ‘those who do things to others and those who have things done to them’. This dichotomy seems troublingly simplistic after a disenfranchised black man enters a synagogue in his Silicon Valley community during Rosh Hashanah and stabs an unsuspecting college student with a machete. Shuster’s dividing line become even blurrier some months later when Muslim high-schooler Jamal Jones falls down dead from a
suspected drugging at a nearby house party – a mysterious tragedy that triggers the interethnic community ‘war’ at the centre of Israeli author Ayelet Gundar-Goshen’s latest novel.
The narrative plays out from the perspective of Shuster’s wife, Lilach. Their son, Adam, has always been the kind of kid who prefers chess to karate. Yet suddenly the Shusters are the target of a series of ostensibly retaliatory attacks carried out on behalf of the ‘Nation of