Abstract (The World is a Rumor)
Yonatan, an Israeli author haunted by the death of his best friend, sets off on a journey with his young son. They climb a mountain on which, rumor has it, lives a man with an extraordinary talent: he can make people’s memories disappear. As it turns out, the man on the mountain has been waiting for Yonatan for a long time. The encounter between them motivates Yonatan to investigate a mystery connected to his friend’s death and to the great loves of his life. So instead of his memories disappearing, Yonatan’s present is invaded by his past.
He creates rich imaginary worlds for his son, like the ones he dreamed up in his childhood, and the two immerse themselves in these worlds with great passion—perhaps too great. When the pandemic begins, Yonatan is determined to shield his son from lock-downs and isolation, and their world is taken over by imaginary play. Are they losing control? Is Yonatan bringing back demons from his past and letting them into his son’s life?
Yonatan gradually learns more about The man from the mountain: his name is Michael, although he once had other names. He used to erase people’s memories, but he also had ways to manipulate their dreams. When it all spiraled out of control, he disappeared for many years and has only recently resurfaced. But Michael disappeared again, clearly hiding something from Yonathan, and Yonatan goes on his own search. In his mind, he travels two decades back, to his unstable relationship with his father. He also revisits a love triangle that ended in a betrayal that cost him his best friend and the girl they both loved. Was that where everything fell apart? Only when he discovers the tower where Michael is hiding, he will know the truth. Yonatan’s quest leads him to places he never intended to reach, and he takes his beloved son with him. The integrity of his family is threatened by the search but it also offers hope for freedom and healing of the wounds.
Nir Baram has written several best-sellers (including Good People, World Shadow, and At Night’s End), and his books have been translated into many languages and are critically acclaimed in both Israel and around the world. Three of his novels were short-listed for Israel’s prestigious Sapir Prize. His latest, The World is a Rumor, plunges into the passions, fears and loves that are always with us, and tells an unsettling and heartrending story of a father’s love for his son, of parents and children, the fragility of family, reality and imagination, the burning desire for intimacy with our loved ones, and the struggle to genuinely live in the present.