Thursday, January 08, 2004

Review of Adjusting Sights by Haim Sabato

Sabato's Adjusting Sights is a wonderfully written novel. There is nothing bad to say about it. It is a memior about a tank gunner in the Israeli Army during the Yom Kippur War. The book's style is clear and poetic filled with allusions to all over the classic corpus of Jewish literatire and liturgy. The story focuses on the search for Dov, the protagonist's best frend who went missing early on in the war.

The book is a real account of the difficulties and sadnesses of war, as well as the spirit that is needed to make it through. The book is quite moving.

I think one of the reasons that the book is as good as it is, is that it steers clear of all politics, and sees war for what it is from the point of view of the young soldier who has to fight it. Golda Meir, the then Prime Minister of Israel is not mentioned. There is no concern for the bigger picture, and there is not a touch of hate. There is just the feeling of saddness of the soldier over loosing his best friend, and the grief that war causes. I was moved by a passage "There was a dogfight. We heard booms. An airplane fell. A parachute opened. A pilot dangled between sky and earth, his life hanging by a thread. We prayed for him without knowing if he was our or theirs." (113)

The translator seems to have done a great job in making the book poetic in English. This book is a quick and good read. I would highly recommend this to all the 19K and 19D soldiers in the Army as well.