by Rahel Lerner

Secrets Revealed Slowly

Her Transylvanian childhood re-asserts itself in Israel

Childhood traumas cast a long shadow in Laundry by Suzane Adam, translated from the Hebrew by Becka Mara McKay (Autumn Hill Books, $16.95). The protagonists of the novel, Ephraim and his wife Ildiko, also called by her Hebrew name, Chavatzelet, are a young couple building lives in Israel in the shadow of their families’ experiences in Transylvania — and in Ildiko’s case, her own experience as a young child hiding there after the Holocaust. As the book opens, their lives have mysteriously fallen apart — Ildiko is nearly catatonic in the wake of a recent, unnamed tragedy, and Ephraim and Ildiko’s mother and sister are in a whirlwind of worry. Ephraim cocoons himself in the house with his traumatized wife, who eventually reveals her haunting story.

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