The Dawning Of The Day: A Jerusalem Tale

Written by Haim Sabato (trans. Yaacab Dweck)
Review by Wendy A. Zollo

The Dawning of the Day is a tale of understanding another culture, told in a graceful, charming and intelligent prose. Ezra Simon Tov is a man who takes not only great comfort but immense pleasure in his religion. His world revolves around it in a palpable calm. Ezra works in a laundry as a presser in Jerusalem of the late 1950s. He’s never late. He never deviates from his routine. More than anything what defines Ezra besides his religion is his ability to tell a story. He’s renowned as a storyteller about the common people of Israel. His stories are warm and hold the essence of a community.

In many ways The Dawning of the Day is a simple narrative of a man’s daily life; even Ezra’s secrets are not unsettling or startling, they are just set against an exquisitely detailed culture. Those secrets are equal to the same self-doubts we all have, saving one twist.

As lovely as Sabato’s story is, its pace is inexcusably slow to the point of interfering with the reading pleasure of this culturally rich book.