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When We Danced on Water (HarperCollins, May 2011) -  Synopsis

At eighty-five, Teo Levin has had a full life, first as a dancer with the Royal Danish Ballet, later as a student of Balanchine and then, for more than fifty years, as head of the Tel Aviv Ballet and the choreographer of spare, prize-winning ballets that are hailed as some of the finest of the twentieth century.

But when Vivi, a young waitress at the Tel Aviv café he frequents, enters his life, both he and she are affected in major and unexpected ways.  Their relationships to art and indeed to life itself shift, and the experiences they have had – in Warsaw and Copenhagen, in Berlin and Tel Aviv – and have tried to suppress, resurface with a vengeance.

Other major characters include Pincho, Vivi’s gay flatmate who comes from a family of religious settlers; her Dead Sea-to-Berlin boyfriend Martin; her mother Leah, a feisty Holocaust survivor from Hungary; Teo’s pale and silent Polish housekeeper, Nelly; and Freddy, an aristocrat and art dealer whose complex obsessions change the course of Teo’s life.

In this novel of intimacy and identity, of art and ambition, the line between passion and obsession is as fluid as the lithest dancer.

Excerpt from When We Danced on Water

Light Fell - synopsis

The sumptuous meal Joseph Licht prepares in his Tel Aviv beachfront penthouse is even better organized than his customary elegant dinner parties, but then his guests are more special than usual: in honor of his own fiftieth birthday, Joseph will host his five grown sons and his new daughter-in-law for the entire Sabbath. It is the first time the family will be reunited in twenty years, since the day Joseph left behind his entire life – wife Rebecca, sons, father, the religious moshav where he grew up – in favor of a riveting affair with his soulmate, illui Yoel Rosenzweig, the genius rabbi of his generation. Their love affair has long since ended, but its echoes reverberate over twenty years and into the lives of Joseph, Rebecca, and their sons in ways none of them could have predicted. In this novel of desire and need, of choices and consequences, no one is unaffected.

Light Fell comprises four sections:

In "Promise", the short opening section, the reader meets Joseph Licht early Friday morning on the 1st of March 1996, as he readies his home – and himself – for the arrival of his grown children. "Love" takes the reader back to 1976, when a forbidden love pried Joseph away from his family and the religious life in which he had been raised. The last two sections return to 1996. In "Khol" the various family members make their way – or not – to Tel Aviv, and "Kodesh" is the reunion itself.

Excerpt of "Promise"

Evan Fallenberg

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© 2011 Evan Fallenberg.