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Dementia is the grey thread that stitches the story of a retired engineer’s challenge to manage the impact of his atrophy, immersed in the anxiety of his family and in the company of friends and colleagues. The narrative seamlessly draws together subplots and layers, touching the deep fault-line that crosses an ancient land dividing two peoples – Israelis and Palestinians.

A. B. Yehoshua, the Master craftsman uses ‘grey humour’, not black, to portray the protagonist’s playful composure and creative energy to embrace his growing demise.

To accompany Lucia, the celebrated engineer on his mission to create a secret tunnel in the Negev desert is a joy-ride of unexpected proportions. The romp from one end of Israel to the other had me often chuckling and laughing out loud, admiring the storyteller’s skill as he highlights and weaves the vulnerabilities of his characters with sensitivity and respect.

The allegory of ‘the tunnel’ in a land laden with ‘memory’ explores the identity and complexity of a ‘homeless people’ in a climate of national atrophy. Yet, ‘the tunnel’ provides hope.

I loved this rich, witty, humanitarian tale – maybe a fable; open-ended, full of hope and despair; love and longing, and hungering more from this writer.


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