Very few novels offer the total immersion that the reader experiences with Zvi Jagendorf’s Coming Soon, set in a divided Jerusalem in 1961. You find yourself wandering the labyrinthine streets of the Old City, amongst “decaying facades of Ottoman mansions, barricaded convents and half-empty pilgrims’ hostels…” In this city, which “displays its wounds like dirty bandages on a beggar’s body”, lives Ada, the dollmaker, always dressed in black, and her motley crew of friends – an artist, an impresario, a theatre director, a monk, a nun, and a lawyer; Jews, Christians and atheists, people from all corners of the globe, each of whom has chosen to make Jerusalem their home.
They all live close to the border that separates the Old City into two: “the edge where one life came to an end at a STOP DANGER sign, and another life began right opposite as in a mirror…” Here, troubled by her own past, Ada contemplates the lives of those Arab families who once lived nearby, but have now gone, leaving only traces behind: broken flower pots, boxes of herbs, and hungry cats searching for their owners.
The Eichmann trial is imminent; the international press is gathering, and the world is watching with bated breath as one of the most senior architects of the Holocaust is about to be tried for genocide. But Milo Banet has other plans: to stage a devastating performance of Noah and the ark on Zion Square right outside the courtroom.