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Anat Talshir

Fiction, 2010

Awarded the Israeli Bookseller Association's Gold Prize

In Jerusalem, in the final days of the British Mandate for Palestine, a man and a woman meet on a grandstand overlooking a parade marking the anniversary of the inauguration of King George VI. Lila Cassuto, a young Jewish woman from an impoverished family, and Elias Riani, an Arab tea merchant with a distinguished pedigree, begin a love affair. But soon war breaks out and Lila and Elias find themselves on opposite sides of a divided city that will be reunited only nineteen years later. Can their love survive the painful and turbulent years of separation and change?

The only party to the secret of their great love is Nomi, the young daughter of Lila’s friend Margo. Nomi walks through life unnoticed but noticing everyone and everything around her, and she becomes the repository for the lovers’ letters of longing, and the person to whom Elias turns with his life’s final request.

ABOUT THE NIGHT is an impeccably written love story set against the bitter conflict over Jerusalem.  With its vivid historical context, this poignant novel resonates long after the last page.

Rights Sold:

Germany, Diana Verlag; Israel, Kinneret Zmora Bitan; Turkey, Pegasus; World English, AmazonCrossing


“Much like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Talshir too deals with the fading of love. While Marquez erodes the love of his protagonists…here, through the years of separation forced on the protagonists…the love does not diminish.  The author carries her readers to interesting places upon a densely eventful plot.” – Ilit Karp, Ha’aretz

"One of the most beautiful love stories of the season – sad, intensely romantic and totally devoid of any kitsch." – ELLE

"Told with the softest of nuances, the love story between Lila and Elias won't leave anyone untouched. It is the hope of fulfillment of their love that keeps them alive, with Lila as the symbol of an especially strong and admirable woman." – LoveLetter

"A big forbidden love." – Boersenblatt

"A romance for cold days." – Bremer Magazine

"An incredibly beautiful lovestory! A fairytale that lets us women dream! A wonderful novel." – Radio Arabella

Talshir’s obvious love for her characters … is compelling. [W]ell-felt and meticulously written. It is a novel about the Jerusalem Talshir grew up in [and] the inability to love wholly, to live peacefully, in a city whose wholeness is never complete.” – Tal Marmelstein, Israel Today

Talshir narrates skillfully, creating believable and touching characters… The book sweeps the reader to a far gone time, to its sounds and its smells…. One of the ten best ways to pass this winter.” – Michal Fleisher, Kalkalist

“Exquisite writing, a veil of magic, romantics at its best, a book one carries with oneself for many days after the last page was read.” – Bruria Avidan-Brir, Att

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