The year is 1895, Jaffa. Salah Dajani, a troubled Muslim boy living in a dilapidated mansion surrounded by orange groves, suffers from peculiar visions about a disaster which is set to befall his people. His life is changed by the arrival of a handsome young man, a dynamic Jewish settler, new to the city, by the name of Haim Margaliot Kalvarisky. Kalvarisky covets both the fertile lands of the Dajani estate and Salah's beautiful mother Afifa, and his friendship with the boy is destined to lead to violence and tragedy. This rich and colourful novel is made up of the two opposing journals of Hilu's intriguing and extraordinary protagonists as they negotiate love, honour and betrayal in the changing world of nineteenth-century Palestine.
Alon Hilu is an Israeli writer and playwright. He was born in 1972. His first book, Death of a Monk, is a historical novel which re-tells the story of the blood libel against the Damascus Jews which took place in 1840. The book was translated into five languages, was among the five finalists for the prestigious Sapir Prize in 2005, and won the Israeli Presidential prize for a debut novel in 2006 and the Israeli Prime Minister prize in 2008. The House of Rajani was awarded the 2009 Sapir Prize. Alon Hilu lives with his family in Tel Aviv. www.alonhilu.com