© April, 2000 Charlotte Mair
Review of Elisha Porats' book:
The Messiah of LaGuardia
Elisha Porats' "The Messiah of LaGuardia" represents all soldiers of the world who experience the unlimited after effects, which war may impress on us all, in one way or another.
There are six impeccably written short stories to fully engross ones attention. The book deals not with the actual battles on the "killing fields" but enters inside the mind of the characters-soldiers, to allow us to feel and learn how "men of war" are left with the ever present scars of battle, the rude after effects of war that change the very soul of ones existence.
The characters are not defined in the material sense, with lace, bows and over-written fancy details but rather in the spiritual; from the personality point of view. Elisha Porats’ words captivate human curiosity by writing believable characters.
For me there were two very notable stories such as "At the Little Bridge Below Ufana" and "Guardian of the Fields".
In "Guardian of the Fields", we learn the depth of loneliness and despair from a man nick-named Etrogi, who had spent most of his life in isolation; guarding the fields, tending to his beloved animals. Etrogi was a man who had experienced war, and had never taken on a wife, nor had children, never knowing how alive he could really feel, until met with the company of Clarabelle. After a brief rondezvous, Etrogi finds himself once again alone…questioning his very existence.
"At the Little Bridge Below Ufana" we also find ourselves in the aftermath of war when Goel Zikhrony finds himself in an unusual but strangely welcomed chain of events. Goel's best friend Kobi Margolin has recently fallen in battle and now it is up to Goel to console his best friend’s wife Ayalla. Even though the loss of his friend grieves him, there is still a flicker of hope left, when he finds himself in an affair with Ayalla. Together they find mutual comfort but Goel is left with deep convictions, guilt of his friend's death and is being questioned persistently by Ayalla . Did he do all that was humanly possible and necessary to save his lifelong friend and husband, to the woman that he Goel had loved in secrecy for years? This was his haunting question.
Much sorrow is held within the contents of this 176 page book, with six of the most intriguing stories. I feel "The Messiah of LaGuardia", is a rather unique reading experience, and will keep one thinking for a long while after a thorough reading.