Author: Ronit Matalon (translated by Dalya Bilu)
Many reviewers of The Sound of Our Steps find this novel by Ronit Matalon poetic and unique. Possibly they are correct. Personally I find narrative a difficult genre to expose characterization and universality and I believe Faulkner succeeded where Matalon has failed.
However, Matalon’s failure does not imply that this novel is not valuable and interesting. Did it touch me in any way? No, not really. I believe the failure for me in the novel was the objective voice of the youngest child as she attempts adulthood, as she narratively voices “the mother” as an environment, a universe, instead of a human being. After the first few chapters – I felt bored.
And yet, Matalon’s voice gifts her target of narrative as an internal voice of “the child,” the youngest of “the mother” Lucette’s three children, and stakes its claim as a reality that swoons with the pregnant degradation of Lucette, Nona and the childrens’ lives as grandmother, mother, children in an internal consciousness that reels us in and holds us in its palm for 367 pages.
Although I prefer Faulkner, Matalon has made her statement in The Sound of Our Steps and will be an author we will hear from in the future.
Told in short vignette like scenes like an ongoing screenplay in words and flow of consciousness, the story revolves around Lucette, “the mother,” and her three children, Sammy, Corinne, and “the child,” an unloved narrator who objectively hashes through the realities of the Egyptian Jewish immigrant family living in Tel Aviv in the 50s. The father, Maurice, is not a character that appears very often, and is marginalized by the family with his lack of appearance.
The beauty of the writing for me is Matalon’s ability to create the imagination of “the child” and how “the child” fills her void of knowledge with conjecture as we all do.
Perhaps for you, the reader, this novel will come to life…and as difficult as it is, you will appreciate its beauty and stark realities.
Review by Broad “A”
We received a copy of this title for our book review. All opinions are our own
The Sound of Our Steps: A Novel is available for purchase on Amazon.com and your local bookseller.