My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Cafe Nevo is a beautiful and poignant tale of Tel Aviv, almost a microcosm of the story of modern Israel. There are clashes between the generation of founders--kibbutz pioneers and refugees--and the disenchanted younger generation sent to fight in Lebanon; clashes between Arab and Jew; women held captive by religious law governing marriage and divorce; and the struggle of artists of all stripes, both the talented and the hack. There's even a touch of magic realism.
At the center of it all in grungy, fly-specked Cafe Nevo is Sternholz, the waiter (maybe owner) who takes it all in and filters it for the reader.
I found it a captivating read, but initially was thrown off by the shifts of point of view and characters within a scene. After the first couple times of being pulled out of the narrative, I chalked it up to the author's voice and the element of magic realism present in the story and went along for the ride. It was worth the effort, and the book is recommended to anyone who likes serious fiction about people--and a country--in turmoil.
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