A writer tries to answer a set of interview questions sent to him by a website editor. At first, they stick to the standard fare: Did you always know you would be a writer? How autobiographical are your books? Have you written any stories you would never publish? Usually his answers in these situations are measured, calculated, cautious. But this time, when his heart is about to break and his life is about to crumble, he finds he cannot tell anything but the truth. The Last Interview shows just how tenuous the lines are between work and life, love and hate, fact and fiction. And in exploring the many, often contradictory facets of an Israeli author's identity, Eshkol Nevo also gives us a portrait of a country at odds with itself.
Eshkol Nevo’s previous novels, all bestsellers in his native Israel, affectionately and acerbically capture the universal intricacies of family life. Though never drifting too far from this enduring theme, The Last Interview is at once both Nevo’s most artistically audacious and perhaps his most personal book to date. A genre-busting narrative in the best sense, the novel is structured as a wide-ranging interview that initially reads as a parody of the entire convention of boilerplate author Q&As but rapidly evolves into a disquieting examination of the protagonist’s soul as one disturbing revelation leads to the next. The result is intellectually exhilarating and often terrifically moving.Those encountering Nevo’s work for the first time will surely find The Last Interview an irresistible introduction to his earlier writing, while those familiar with his oeuvre will find it a profoundly fulfilling examination of the themes that run through Nevo’s life and art.
... a novel at least as much about the conceits of fiction itself as it is about the regrets and resolve of the book’s narrator ... All is filtered through the device of an interview. The entire novel is an extended Q&A, with questions ostensibly posed by an online publication and the narrator responding to them ... The insistence on the untrustworthiness of the writer and what he writes, as well as the endless reminders that words can transfigure—even hijack—both memory and experience may weary some readers. The novel, though, is undeniably engaging and often authentically moving—as incoherent as that might seem in such a self-consciously layered work.
In trenchant, lovely prose—beautifully translated by Silverston—Nevo uses the unconventional structure of a literary interview to reveal the cracks in the facade of a writer’s relationship to himself, his work, and the world. Nevo excels at revealing—and reveling in—the exquisite within the mundane. As the interviewer moves from question to question, the protagonist leads the reader through various vignettes of his life; though the questions themselves range from basic to profound, each answer pulls the reader further into the protagonist’s vibrant inner world ... a compelling page-turner of quiet beauty and power. Drawing upon a rich Jewish literary heritage that stretches from Bialik to Oz to Roth, Nevo pushes the boundaries of fiction both formally and thematically, challenging the reader at every turn to reconsider their conceptions of the relationship between truth and fiction. A daring, triumphant work of searing beauty.