Monday, May 9, 2022

Waking Lions

 My local book club was yet another fatality of COVID-19. Between finding a safe place to meet and all the people passing around the book, it finally succumbed earlier this year. I was not the most active member; I often skipped the books in which I had no interest (as did other members, which could be another reason why the group folded). But I miss discussing books, so I decided to read the latest selection for a local library group.

This month's selection

So first of all, here is how not to run a book club: Send out a notice that the group will be meeting on Zoom and that a few days before the meeting a request for reservations will be sent out, and then never send out the request for reservations. Arrange it so that the person sitting at the desk at the library has no information and has to call the book club contact person. Then have the contact person not contact the person who asked to participate. So that you not only ruined my evening, but pretty much guaranteed that I'm not interested in your group anymore.

But I'm so glad I read Waking Lions. This one was definitely out of my comfort zone of literary fiction and romance. And when I leave my comfort zone, I am either disappointed or very excited that I tried something different. In this case, it is the latter. The appeal points are all there and all amazing: a strong sense of place in the Negev region of Israel and perfect pacing. But what really stands out are the characters. As I read, I kept changing my mind about who was good and who was bad, and I'm still thinking about it. The way the story unravels with so many twists and turns kept me glued to the book until I finished it.

I don't want to spoil it because I highly recommend reading this book. Here's a little teaser: Eitan Green is a neurosurgeon who for some political reason had to leave his prestigious job near Tel Aviv and now works at Soroka Hospital in Beersheva. His wife Liat is a police detective, and they have two sons. One night after work, he decides to blow off some steam and takes a drive south on Route 40. He hits and kills an Eritrean on the road and leaves the scene. But the man's wife is there, picks up the wallet Eitan dropped, and shows up on his doorstep. What follows is a tense tale of secrets and strange alliances that doesn't quite make sense until the end of the book.

A big thank you to super librarian/book club leader Rachel Kamin for providing me with discussion questions and an article from her book group meeting.

As for the Real Cats of Israel, as long as the book is about lions, here are some more cats from the Tisch Family Zoological Gardens in Jerusalem:

Happy Reading !

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