For Christmas a year ago, Shir sent me the most amazing white chocolate from Israel. But she also sent me a book: Someone to Run With, by David Grossman. Apparently it was a "runaway bestseller" in Israel, but I had never heard of it or the author, so here was a good opportunity to experience some world literature! And learn about contemporary Jerusalem through fiction!
Someone to Run With is the deceptively simple tale of a teenage boy and teenage girl on the streets of Jerusalem. I say deceptively simple because I stole that from a review on the cover but also because it's accurate: while the actual plot could be summarized in just a few sentences, Grossman expands the details into something more meaningful.
Today, Assaf is trying to return a lost dog to its rightful owner.
A month ago, Tamar and her dog were setting up a cave to bring an unidentified man or boy to.
We follow these dual narratives, as Assaf travels the streets of Jerusalem, letting the dog lead him down the right path in search of clues that will lead him to Tamar. Meanwhile, a month ago, Tamar has some sort of plan she is executing that appears to involve some sort of rescue from seedy folk. We patiently/impatiently wait for these two narratives to finally converge. What the hell is her plan? Will she be successful? How does she lose her dog? Will Assaf find her? Will Assaf, as he meets person after person from her life and learns more about her, slowly fall in love with this girl he's never met? (Psst. The answer to that last one is yes, of course. Also the answer to the question, Is it totally adorable?)
Besides the narrative hijinks, the major strength of the book is that Assaf and Tamar, being the two central characters, are so interesting and likable you really, truly root for them. Assaf is kind of insecure and unsure about his future, and he's not sure how he relates to his friends and family anymore. Tamar is basically just awesome, and even though we begin the book with Assaf, the book is truly her story, as even Assaf's story is generally about her. She's a badass singer who'll do whatever it takes, and, well, I like Assaf and all, but I was always excited whenever we switched back to her perspective.
It's a bit Dickensian in its plot elements and—to steal another phrase—improbable strokes of fortune, but I love that shit. As for its depiction of Jerusalem, I now know that there are a lot of street performers and people know all these songs that I have never heard of—in addition to popular American music as well. I don't think Someone to Run With is a great title, but it's a lovely novel.
So the critics were right! Fast Five is pretty awesome!! It's easily the best since the original, and it may even be better, which I am very happy about after the disappointing fourth one. It's like Ocean's Eleven with fast cars and only one white dude. It's like they figured out everything that worked about the franchise and distilled it down to AWESOME. What does a Fast and the Furious heist movie look like? Well, it surely involves an insanely exciting car chase with massive amounts of collateral damage, I'll tell you what.
I love that the team comprises characters from all four movies, giving the franchise a sense of continuity and creating a makeshift family of criminals (and you know I love the old Family You Make for Yourself theme). I love that it takes place in Rio de Janeiro. And I love that Gal Gadot is superultramegafucking hot, holy shit.
Bring on the next one (which, as some clever person on the Internet quipped, I hope is called Speedy Six)!!