Eshkol Nevo translated from the Hebrew by Sondra Silverston

Three Floors Up

Publication Date: Oct 10, 2017

304 pp

Trade Paperback

List Price US $16.95
Trim Size (H x W): 5.5 x 8.25
ISBN: 978-1-59051-878-6


ISBN: 978-1-59051-879-3

Finalist for the Fiction and Book Club categories of the 2017 National Jewish Book Awards

Set in a Tel Aviv apartment building, this best-selling Israeli novel examines a society in crisis, through the turmoils, secrets, unreliable confessions, and problematic decisions of the building’s residents.

On the first floor, Arnon, a tormented retired officer who fought in the First Intifada, confesses to an army friend how his obsession with his daughter’s safety led him to lose control and put his marriage in peril. Above Arnon lives Hani, known as “the widow.” Her husband travels the world for work while she stays at home with their two children, increasingly isolated and unstable. When her brother-in-law suddenly appears at their door begging her to hide him from loan sharks and the police, she agrees, in spite of the risk to her family, if only to bring some emotional excitement into her life. On the top floor lives a former judge, Devora. Retired and eager to start a new life, Devora joins a social movement, tries to reconnect with her estranged son, and falls in love with a man who isn’t what he seems.

A brilliant novelist, Eshkol Nevo vividly depicts the grinding effects of social and political ills played out in the psyche of these flawed, compelling characters, often in unexpected and explosive ways.

Excerpt from Three Floors Up

Maybe the difference is that in Hebron, I was responsible only for myself. And here I was responsible for my little girl. I knew I screwed up. It was so clear that I screwed up that Ayelet didn’t even waste time accusing me. The minute I got out of the car, she filled me in on the situation: the entire building was out searching, and there was also a police car on the way. They were combing our neighborhood. And the adjacent neighborhood too. I said, “I’ll kill him if he did something to her, I’ll just kill him.” Ayelet said, “We still don’t know what happened, maybe they just got lost.” But I saw in her eyes that she was also thinking about the kisses and the Hoppe, hoppe, Reiter. I asked if anyone was searching the citrus groves, and Ayelet said no, they hadn’t thought that far ahead. So I said, “I’ll go there and take my gun.”

“Why a gun?” she said.

“If he touched a hair on her head, that’s the end of him.”

When Ofri was in kindergarten, there was a kid there who harassed her. Saar Ashkenazi. She’d come home every day with stories. Saar Ashkenazi said this to her, Saar Ashkenazi did that to her. Ayelet spoke to the teacher, who said she hadn’t noticed anything special and that at that age, they still can’t always tell the difference between reality and imagination.

Finalist for the Fiction and Book Club categories of the 2017 National Jewish Book Awards

“Eshkol Nevo is a fascinating story teller who gives the reader a broad and diverse picture of Israeli society.” —Amos Oz, bestselling author of Judas

“Mesmerizing…this book and its conflicted apartment dwellers stayed with me long after I finished reading.” —New York Times Book Review

“Smart and absorbing…Nevo shows us life’s complexities in a thoroughly satisfying read.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“Nevo is a funny, engaging writer.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Israeli bestseller Nevo returns with a transporting novel about the furtive lives of three tenants in a suburban Tel Aviv apartment building… Nevo’s narrators range from despicable to endearing, and he handles each with a sure hand, resulting in a multifaceted narrative that is easy to be carried away by.” Publishers Weekly 

“Best-selling Israeli novelist Nevo, his Hebrew fluidly translated by Sondra Silverston, cleverly infuses these quotidian albeit schadenfreude-inducing dramas with numerology (“everything is in threes”), Freudian analysis (the “three floors up” of id, ego, superego), the power of secrets (plus the greater threat of revenge), and the literary necessity for confessions (“if there is no one to listen–there is no story”).” —Booklist

“Israeli author Eshkol Nevo’s novel explores the social and cultural fabric of Israel through three tenants on three separate floors of an apartment building in Tel Aviv. Their individual stories and struggles are braided together with tight, terse prose, forming a cohesive picture of the broader society in which they reside.” —World Literature Today 

“Eshkol Nevo, in his astoundingly moving new book, Three Floors Up, brilliantly captures how the landscape of a marriage can become tenuous and dark while parents struggle with children who seem to need a little extra help. His three loosely interwoven stories take place in an upper-middle-class apartment building in Tel Aviv where neighbors observe one another quietly, grappling with their own growing desperation.” —Jerusalem Post 

“The novella-length chapters offer a compelling critique of Israeli society. But Nevo’s chief strength lies in his ability to fashion wonderfully relatable characters whose troubled voices, as well as mysterious and impulsive moods, render the work a page-turner…Nevo’s talent for embedding telling character traits and cultural anecdotes through quick one-liners is perhaps his greatest asset. The prose sings in places, and Three Floors Up is difficult to put down.” —Jewish News Service 

“A brilliant novelist, Eshkol Nevo vividly depicts the grinding effects of social and political ills played out in the psyche of these flawed, compelling characters, often in unexpected and explosive ways.” —Bookreporter

“Lively, tripartite novel by Eshkol Nevo, a highly admired Israeli author…Nevo creates three compulsive narrators, three unsparingly candid monologues, three stories that expose the psyches of people caught at critical points in their lives…Perceptive and compelling, Three Floors Up plays with the form of the novel itself and keeps the reader absorbed in its sets of triads.” —Jewish Book Council 

“Eshkol Nevo is a brilliant literary chemist who succeeds in extracting from daily life’s most mundane events, the deepest crystallized essence of the contemporary Israeli psyche.” —Etgar Keret

“Eshkol Nevo writes beautifully, funnily, and wisely about men and women…Friendship, envy, love, misery, endurance—he captures the lot.” —Roddy Doyle