Spanning two worlds, languages, and cultures, Revital Shiri-Horowitz’s Hope To See You Soon, examines in painful detail the friendship of two women over a twenty-five year span.
The author skips back and forth between Tel Aviv and Seattle and between the decades when they first become friends in the 1980s, in their early adulthood in the 1990s, and in their painful full-blown adult years when the reality of marriages and parenthood settle over them. It’s a sometimes bumpy journey, but the narrator Michal keeps the reader straight with the references to her life at particular points. It’s easy to distinguish the voice of the young girl, growing teenager, newlywed, new mother, and disenchanted housewife in the skillful hands of the author.
Letters between the women unify the plot and give a context for how each copes with life changes and provides a little insight into how they feel about one another. Almost always, when we imagine that someone’s life is better than our own, we’re looking at green food coloring in the grass, and Michal and her friend Tamari are no exceptions. This truism stands with several others in this thoughtful examination of what happens to friendships complicated by life changes and disruptions.
Ms. Shiri-Horowitz also points out many paradoxes. For example, Michal questions the naming of “The War for Peace in the North” in Israel for how can “war” ever be called “peace?”
The author’s love of both Israel and Washington state become evident as the narrator lives in one place and longs for the other. She loves many things about Seattle, but Israel flows through her blood. It kills her to see her husband acclimate so easily into the culture of the United States. Their Jewish heritage disappears as her children grow up in the world of Christmas and Christian culture. The poignant ache for Michal’s homeland shouts across the miles from Seattle to Israel. This longing, which permeates her soul, ultimately causes many complications and hardships in her life.
In addition, the author expresses the horror and eventual acceptance of living with the uncertainty of war. Michal’s and Tamari’s service to their country seems foreign to me as a United States citizen. But for a young person in Israel, it’s accepted, and the main choice for older teenagers becomes where and how they will spend their duty to the country. As a reader, I love to learn about the lives of people in other situations and cultures. Hope To See You Soon brought the Israeli world alive for me.
I loved traveling with Michal through the journey of her life, despite the pain. Without the angst, there cannot be the ultimate joy of simply living and loving without restraint.
I’m a fan of Revital Shiri-Horowitz’s work. Hope To See You Soon is her second novel. Click here to see my review of her novel Daughters of Iraq and here for my interview with her on Author Wednesday.