Charged with brilliance and daring, hypnotic in its intensity, Beaufort is at once a searing coming-of-age story and a novel for our times-one of the most powerful, visceral portraits of the horror, camaraderie, and absurdity of war in modern fiction.
In order to limit Hezbollah's attacks on Israeli settlements, Israel maintained a security force in southern Lebanon for close to 20 years. Leshem's searing, award-winning first novel chronicles the lives of the last group of Israeli soldiers to man the outpost at Beaufort, a crusader-castle ruin of questionable military significance. Written as the diary of Liraz "Erez" Liberti, the hotheaded twentysomething leader of a 13-man commando unit stationed in an outpost prior to the Israeli withdrawal in 2000, the novel brings to life the situation of very young men on a dangerous mission. This is a picture of war from a soldier's point of view. Its language is crude, the body count rises, and yet the tenderness of the bonds among the men is extraordinary. As they begin to have doubts about their mission and their government begins to seem cynical about the situation in southern Lebanon, the novel also becomes an indictment of war irrevocably altering the futures of idealistic young men. Leshem brings these issues to life. An important novel, recommended for all collections. [The award-winning film adaptation of the novel was screened at the Berlin International Film Festival and will debut in U.S. theaters this year; see Prepub Alert, LJ9/1/07.]