A powerful internationally acclaimed novel of war and survival, now a major film.
Beaufort, a remote and beautiful fort in southern Lebanon dating back to the Crusades, has been an outpost of the Israeli Defence Force for nearly twenty years, and now, for the teenage soldiers who live there presiding over the last moments of Israel's presence in Lebanon, it has become a world of its own, an enclave in the heart of enemy territory where boy soldiers create a state with its own rules and its own unique, outrageous, brutal language.
With a critical eye and an empathetic heart, Ron Leshem dishes up a wholly human story that takes place in conditions that are anything but. Fast-paced and brutally honest, unflinching and uproariously funny, Beaufort has been hailed – not only by critics but by the generation of soldiers who served in Lebanon during Israeli occupation – as the true voice of that sobering period.
Written as the diary of Liraz (Erez) Liberti, the head of a commando team stationed at Beaufort during the last winter of Israeli occupation, Beaufort is a revolutionary and potent look at the futility of war and death, and the courage it takes to put an end to it.This is not a story of war, but of retreat.This is a story with no enemy, only an amorphous entity that fires missiles from the surrounding mountains. And while thirteen young men propel the novel and give it life and colour, the real hero of Beaufort is fear: contagious, intoxicating, palpable fear, a word they forbid themselves from uttering. Beaufort is a devastating portrayal of a generation finding that the values and principles bestowed on them by their parents have betrayed them, and the terrifying nihilistic reality of Middle Eastern conflict.
“Ron Leshem has succeeded in creating an entire world, simply through language”
author David Grossman
“Beaufort is that rare thing, a novel of deep moral concern in which sympathetically drawn and beautifully realized characters are allowed to speak for themselves.”
“This gripping first novel describes... a country increasingly weary of endless war and strained by differences between hawks and doves... By turns, it is tragic, funny, mordant, irate, shocking, and poignant.. A must read”
Booklist, Starred Review
“An important novel...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”
library Journal, Starred Review
“scenarios unfold, funny, chilling and unrelenting ... Leshem never slackens his pace.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“Flamboyant yet gripping, the novel comes to a thrilling climax with the soldiers' perilous evacuation from Beaufort”
“A title full of tenderness, romance and charm but misleading. Far from being pastoral, the book is one of those texts that take you by surprise....droll and harrowing, the author captures, through the squad of young soldiers, the singularities which make up the wealth and complexity of Israeli society.”
“In pungent and rhythmic writing, Leshem depicts a society which feels morally as well as physically besieged”
“Skilfully sketches the alternating terror and tedium of war”
“The novel plays with language in several ways [...] It is also a critique of the language of war and the comfortable platitudes fed to the civilians at home”
Akin Ajayi, Times Literary Supplement
“Fiery and frank, this audacious debut about young Israeli soldiers stationed at the remote fort of Beaufort in southern Lebanon in 1999 is at heart a coming-of-age story... Charged with breathless urgency and told with life-affirming warmth, this is a surprisingly entertaining book ... A must-read”