Page 62 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 41

Basic HTML Version

“fleshing-out” o f the ending . What is the read e r supposed to
make o f the helicopters hovering overhead at the conclusion o f
A .H .’s tirade? Several possibilities covering a whole spectrum o f
visions o f the world suggest themselves. Perhaps the occupants o f
the helicopters will kill both the Israelis and A.H., inscribing a
fin is
to the whole affair. Maybe they will kill A.H. alone, leav­
ing the Israelis with no th ing more than ou trageous claims. Or,
they will kill the Israelis and “save”A.H., e ither enshrin ing him or
bring ing him back to trial. Finally, perhaps the helicopters are
peopled with Lieber’s men who will bring A.H. back to trial in
Jerusa lem . One may even choose to leave the helicopters where
they are. On any spectrum there are infinite shades. T h e above
list by no means exhausts the possibilities, which are indeed
endless, limited only by the number o f readers who unde r take to
think seriously about the ending o f the novel. T he answer one
gives to the question raised by the hovering helicopters is in pa r t
determ ined by one’s
by one’s vision o f the world.
Steiner’s answer, it is clear from his writings, is to despair. It stems
from a tragic vision o f the world, a vision which says tha t time is
runn ing out and there is nowhere else to go. In the world o f this
vision, whatever one does, one is doomed.
Is Steiner’s vision, where there are only m ud puddles, a vision
we can live with? O r are there blue skies as well? Does evil
trium ph , or does good? Perhaps the answer is to leave the heli­
copters hovering for all eternity because ne ither evil no r good tr i­
umphs: Nothing triumphs, one m ight say, because life goes on.
T he play is prologue. Let the dialogue begin.