While rolling through a list of potential novels to distract me from the world for a while, Emma McEvoy’s first novel, The Inbetween People, caught my eye. I’m not sure what drew me. Maybe it was the male leads in a book authored by a woman. Maybe it was the setting of the book in Israel, an exotic, hostile, “other” place. Maybe it was the chance to look inside the modern Israel and how it continues to be affected by its history.
McEvoy did not disappoint. The fact that she spent eight years living on a kibbutz provided her with the experience to make the writing believable. I could feel the heat, smell the white dust of Galilee, experience the deep felt division that is part of the culture of the area, held in the reservoir of those who were primarily affected by the war in the 1970’s. We come to understand a younger generation of Jews and Palestinians who are mixed in their alliances, propelled more by history than by their own convictions.
McEvoy makes a strong case for a new generation in Israel, tired of conflict and confused about the motivation for a continued struggle. While I enjoyed the read, her style, writing in the first person for multiple characters, jumping back and forth in time, makes the book tough to follow at times. From time to time, I would be three or four paragraphs into a chapter before figuring out who was speaking. This style, while distracting, also served to highlight the similarities and differences in attitude and conviction between the older and younger generations.
All round, a worthwhile read.