One Night, Markovitch
Written by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen
Translated by Sondra Silverston
Publication Date May 09, 2015
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin meets The Marrying of Chani Kaufman in this cinematic novel about the birth of Israel and the true story of the marriages of convenience that were arranged to smuggle Jewish women out of Nazi-occupied Europe.
On the eve of World War II, a ship bearing twenty young men sets sail from the Palestine Territory toward Europe. Eagerly awaiting them on the other side are twenty young women, whom the men have never met. They have been set up in arranged marriages to enable Jewish women to escape Nazi Germany and enter Palestine without being turned back by the British.
But when Yaacov Markovitch, a thoroughly unremarkable man, finds himself married to Bella Zeigerman, the most beautiful woman he has ever set eyes upon, things start to get complicated. Yaacov’s fake marriage is the beginning of a lifelong obsession, as he vows to make his beautiful bride, Bella, love him, despite her determination to break free. Their changing fortunes take them through war, upheaval, terrible secrets, tragedy, joy, and loss.
Vital, funny, and tender, One Night, Markovitch brilliantly fuses personal lives and epic history in an unforgettable story of endless, hopeless longing and the desperate search for love.
Ayelet Gundar-Goshen was born in Israel in 1982. She has written or co-written a number of screenplays and TV series and has produced short films that have been selected for film festivals in Israel and around the world. She has won the Gottlieb Prize for Young Screenwriters, and the Berlin Today Award for her short film Batman at the Checkpoint. One Night, Markovitch, her first novel, won the Sapir Prize for Debut Fiction.
Sondra Silverston is an acclaimed American translator who has lived in Israel since 1970. She has translated work by Amos Oz, Etgar Keret, Savyon Liebrecht, and Aharon Megged.
"A brilliant novel with fine linguistic awareness and a sense for historical detail . . . A courageous, wise book that presents a world that is gone, never to return." Sapir Prize for Debut Fiction
"This book is superb — trenchant and full of love, impressive in the wisdom that we find between the lines." Yedioth Ahronoth
"Decidedly original with a very mature style, full of good metaphors . . . Shows genuine literary promise." Maariv
"I read it and was caught up in a whirlpool." Israel Hayom
"Gundar-Goshen breathes life into a period that young Israeli writers hardly ever look at. She does not resort to hymns of praise and she does not kneel before national myths, nor does she create monsters." La’Isha
"The words “assured” and “debut” are often yoked together in reviews of first novels but seldom as deservedly as in the case of Ayelet Gundar-Goshen’s One Night, Markovitch. The confidence of the writing is certainly one of its pleasures but what won me over from the first page is the exuberant generosity of Gundar-Goshen’s storytelling, the fine balance she sustains in her portrayal of the rich comedy of human experience and the inevitable suffering. This is, in short, a marvelous novel: tender, sensual, thought-provoking, and very funny." Financial Times
"A lively mediation on love and nationhood . . . This novel tackles some of the controversial subjects of our time and demonstrates that comedy is a powerful means of exploring serious themes." Independent
"Gundar-Goshen establishes a sprightly and original narrative voice and creates some wonderfully vivid Dickensian characters . . . An impressive debut novel." Herald
"Storytelling that feels instinctive . . . Gundar-Goshen exerts reassuring control over her narrative . . . and confidently moulds symmetries from it that are both moving and satisfying." The Guardian
"Her writing is beautifully brocaded with humour and sensuality, Ayelet Gundar-Goshen is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel One Night, Markovitch is an incredibly rich tale of history, love, obsession and new beginnings . . . Maginificent." Huffington Post
"A cross between Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Mel Brooks . . . The final chapter is so breathtaking it makes you want to start reading the whole book again." Daily Mail