February 8, 2024
“The Tunnel,” by A. B. Yehoshua
A.B. Yehoshua surprises and delights once again with a story about aging and acceptance. The acclaimed author has crafted a tale which is both uniquely Israeli and yet universal in theme; everyone ages and weakens, but dignity and integrity need not fade.
Zvi Luria, a retired roadway engineer, has been forgetting the names of acquaintances, picked up the wrong child from his grandson’s kindergarten, and has been losing his honed sense of direction — which has always been a source of pride to him. His resourceful wife, Dina, in an attempt to keep Zvi connected and vibrant, has a suggestion both constructive and construction-oriented; she urges him to volunteer his services and expertise as an unpaid assistant to a former colleague, a younger engineer engaged in the building of a new roadway through the desert near the Ramon Crater. This colleague, in league with his former army commander, is concealing a secret within the sandy dunes; they are sheltering a Palestinian family who has been hiding in Israel without proper documentation or official identification.