Night Games

Night Games is the story of forty something Israelis. It is the first Israeli novel to focus on the Israeli Baby boomers, a generation of sons and daughters of new immigrants, who confront their fragile identity with nostalgia, sometimes regret, and mostly with painful sobriety. They are forced to face themselves in the mirror and desperately ask, "Where do we go from here?"
On the eve of Israel's Independence Day 1987, half a year before the "Intifada" - the Arab uprising in the West Bank, several old friends, a cross- section of Israeli society, gather to play a game of scavenger hunt.

Ten riddles are hidden in different historical sites around Haifa, an ancient city in the north of Israel where Arabs and Jews had been living for many years in fragile co-existence.

The group draws lots and divides into teams, each team consisting of a man and a woman, who are not a couple in real life. The race begins, as each team's goal is to be the first to arrive at the final destination: a spot on the beach where they plan to celebrate in a joyful holiday bonfire surrounded by their children.

The group embarks on a dangerous night of games, risking their secure and solid friendship. Their enthusiasm is enhanced by their yearning to become happy teenagers one more time. Yet the voyage does not go according to plan. They encounter other people along their way, notably Arabs who share the same land and who try to teach them a new meaning of the word "Patriotism".

The long eventful night also exposes the group's personal struggles and conflicts, marital crises and dual loyalties. Hidden feelings suddenly surface. Forbidden love, grudges, disappointments and shattered dreams are at the heart of the novel.

One old friend is missing from the game: the group's childhood pal who was lost nineteen years ago in a navy submarine, while serving in the army. His memory lingers over the game like a shadow, because his body was never recovered and he has no grave.

The group's emotional crossroads also reflects a junction in a society struggling to achieve a normal existence and paying the price for trying so desperately to fulfill a national dream, after decades under siege.

Night Games was published in 1994 by AM OVED Publishing House in Israel.

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