Obsession is a nasty beast whose claws sink deep and anchor inside its victims. Nora Gold’s book, The Dead Man, follows a heartbroken Eve Bercovitch, who has spent the last five years bleeding out in the grips of her obsession. The Dead Man straps readers into the passenger’s seat of a roller coaster ride through the world of Israeli music. Gold weaves a narrative so intricate that readers everywhere will find themselves questioning the reality of this world. Eve is the perfectly imperfect vehicle through the wild world that’s unearthed inside these pages.
Jake, a world famous music critic, is the center of Eve’s world, even when she’s an ocean away and it’s been five years since the two of them have so much as spoken. Exactly five years after their breakup, Eve finds herself back in Israel for a music therapy conference. Her suffering has taken a huge toll on her musical creativity and she believes that being back where it all began may help her find the ending to the piece of music she’s been working on for years. Instead, she spends her time wondering what Jake is doing and whether he’s thinking of her, while also fighting the urge to dial his number at every payphone she passes.
“Fantasy isn’t reality. These two things have to be kept very clearly apart. This is all that keeps the world from spinning madly out of control and exploding into a million particles in outer space.” It isn’t long before Eve realizes that her relationship with Jake may not have been as healthy as she thought. Her therapy meetings bring to light the fact that she may have chosen not to see the dangerous clues that were laid out in front of her.
Eve has a number of revelations during her time in Israel, two of the largest having to do with her parents and her mourning practices (or lack thereof). Eve grew up embracing the idea that remembering someone is the only way to keep them alive, even when they’re dead. Eve had a short relationship with her mother because she passed when Eve was a young girl; her father quickly remarried a woman who wanted nothing to do with Eve. This destroyed their close relationship and it only got rockier as she grew up. It is on her trip to Israel that she finally deals with the past and mourns the death of her familial relationships of her past.
“I don’t want fantasy anymore, she thinks. I want reality. In the end, despite all its limitations, it’s better and safer than this imaginary world I’ve been living in for the past few years.” Eve digs her way out of the past she’s been stuck in while rediscovering her musical side in her favorite place in the world. Though she finds this city riddled with painful memories, she figures out it’s exactly what she needed to heal herself as well as complete the song cycle that has been lying unfinished for years.
Nora Gold throws her readers into an exhilarating world of Israeli music and adds in an affair, daddy issues, and PTSD to keep the readers on the edge of their seats. The writing is lyrical and elegant and story itself is one that won’t soon be forgotten. This book will capture the hearts of readers, musicians, and travelers alike.