Writer and poet Nicole Cross, in this collection of ten short stories, depicts distorted moments during existence. Painful, but often rewarding moments are conducive to rebirth.
“It’s been thirty years since I saw Soraya.” Soraya is his teenage friend. The story has disappeared from her life, but she has been taught courage, power games, and vulnerability. The stories in this book are mainly shared between New York and Tel Aviv. They are in common separation, grief, and loss, but these painful moments can be decisive. In the short story “Jucha on the Roof”, Bradman resurrects “the wise man by the wisdom of the dead” to educate his newborn little son. This man thinks he has failed himself, “must have been oppressed by duty”, and wants to keep his grandson out of the Jewish tradition. Nova is living alone in California after her parents divorced. It will live to be a decisive day as the city is surrounded by huge fires. In “Love”, there is a difference between the location of the benefit, the thinking and the barbed wire of a refugee camp where the story is located. There is a difference between the beauty of a botanical garden and the “garden” that it is despised by the military of the South American dictatorship. The author, in particular, explores romantic relationships, couples, and the need for freedom “as a human being”.
If loss is at the heart of his messages, Nicole Cross describes moments in her life that are a decisive passage for the future. In the short story “The End of Time”, fire is “a symbol of the destruction of the old order, which will lead to the next”. The Hebrew tradition is very much in the book and its rituals penetrate the presence of the characters. The biblical dimension is evident in the wonderful short story “Ershadi” starring Kierostami in “Taste of Cherry”. The actor’s face attracts Romeo and his friend: it reveals the man on the brink of despair, but he identifies in the film as the story of the reborn Nicole Cross. The author’s beautiful writing expresses a pleasant sadness, a poetic atmosphere. The stories play on contradictions, which are sometimes mysterious, as far as Lana is concerned, seeing a husband appear. Nicole Cross succeeds in getting the reader interested with this husband who has nowhere to turn family life upside down.
The talent of Nicole Cross is fully revealed in this collection of short stories. The reader will appreciate these different, varied, sensitive accounts that elegantly describe the contradictions of the human soul.
Nicole Cross, To be a man, Editions DL Oliver, 270 pages, 22 euros, 50, published May 12, 2021.
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