Moving


 The Cover Says •

Three young Israelis work in a moving company in New York. They hate their boss, who is paying little lies a lot and runs them all across America. They had it up tp here with him and the wheeling-and-dealing of the moving business, and even the tips are not what they used to be.

One day, when their boss goes a little too far, they have an idea: the truck is fully loaded; they can just disappear with it. What they don’t know is that someone else has big plans for the same load.

They drive south with the truck. The boss is on their tail. So is the Ukranian mafia. The customers are on the boss’s tail. The FBI is on the Ukranians’ tail. And there are glamorous casinos, neglected loved-ones, a native-American beauty, a Jewish mother, and a mysterious old lady in Las Vegas. And the countdown is on, to the big money…

Moving is fast and smart, sexy and funny: a crime-adventure-comedy-road novel. Moving is full of action, a wild ride between American characters, and a brilliant portrait of Israelis in the land of unlimited opportunity. Moving is American in its geography. mixed-nationality in its language, and utterly Israeli in its soul.

Assaf Gavron traveled to work as a mover in the US as part of the research for this book.

 The Review Says •

Moving reveals Gavron as a talented and truly serious artist.”
Batya Gur, Haaretz >>>

“A wonderfully fun novel. It is young and friendly, the plot is rhythmic and sexy, and it transfers beautifully the world of Israeli movers in New York.” Yedioth Achronot

“A light, rhythmic and enjoyable thriller, that manages to view the so-familiar “American Story” from a slightly different angle.” Kol Ha’ir Magazine

“Gavron’s gallery of characters – Israelis, Russians, Americans, German immigrants, bored housewives and slick businessmen – is very amusing; the sophisticated scheme into which he thrown all of them, as the basis for the action, is nice; but most impressive is his ability to diagnose and the accuracy with which he constructs his characters.” Time Out Tel Aviv

“One of those novels that really begs the question, how didn‘t anyone think about it earlier? Written with a flowing style, an assured hand and considerable talent… Gavron’s language – the rhythm, the metaphors, the cutting between scenes – is so cinematic in character, that sometimes you wish the publisher was a movie studio.” Bamachane Magazine

“Deep and light at the same time.” Walla website

 More Info •

Movie option sold to Lama Films, Tel Aviv. Shooting is scheduled for summer 2014 in Canada, US and Israel.

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Hebrew / German

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Chapter 1: New York, Spring 1998

The spring of 1998 wasn’t exactly a spring. In New York, for example, snow fell one Sunday (Izzy had set up to meet Shlomi at 125th and Park in the Bronx at seven a.m.; snow fell on his face, the cold seeped into his bones), and the following Friday it was in the mid-eighties and sunny (Jonesy and Izzy were loading huge paintings by an eccentric artist in Brooklyn and sweating like foxes).

The spring of 1998 was especially crazy because of El Ni?o. Tornadoes, heat waves, snowstorms, floods, merciless sunshine – all in the same week, in the same place, or a few hours’ drive away in the next state over. In any case it was spring, and Izzy had this one remark stuck in his head. He’d heard it at a truck stop in Nebraska as he stood waiting in the checkout line holding two large coffees, a bag of sunflower seeds, some Hershey’s chocolate kisses and a screwdriver. When the woman behind the counter told the fat truck driver standing in front of him that it was a wonderful day, he said, “Spring’s here, and that’s the time for changes.”

Working as movers, you see changes all the time. You’re part of them. You see people at the moment of change, the moment of transition, packing up their whole lives in one place – along with their work, friends, neighbors, experiences that took place between those very walls and in that very air – and you take them to a different place, where everything is new and unfamiliar and exciting and scary. Or else you’re bringing them back to the house they’ve been waiting to return to for years. Sometimes they’re fed up and sometimes they’ve lost everything they owned or earned a fortune, and it’s not only the place and the air and the office they’re swapping, it’s everything – their path in life, their social status, their worldview, their lives.

And you’re there, catching the moment right on the inside. You enter people’s lives through the back door for one day or a few. You dig around in their underwear, pack up their sheets, and by the end of the day you’ve bonded with them.

You get into places their friends or even their children and families have never seen, private rooms and personal belongings they can only show to themselves. You become their friend for a day, an outside observer who sees and hears everything: the quarrels between husband and wife, the significant looks shared by the husband and the wife’s sister, the small fears that weigh heavy on their hearts. You’re part of their fresh start in life, their adventure, you are the radar that picks up on their feelings, the interior decorator in charge of the furniture arrangement, the go-between helping them meet new neighbors for the first time. As a mover you perform a lot of functions. You calm them down, laugh with them, console them, listen to their stories about Viet Nam or New York, about their grandparents or their children, about the drugs they take and the countries they’ve visited and the jobs they’re about to start. You look at photographs of them in their prime, decades earlier, you pet their cats and dogs. You say to them, “Spring’s here, and that’s the time for changes.” You say to them, “This armchair? It’s terrific.” You say, “For an apartment like this one, I’d leave Los Angeles, too.” For one day or a few you are the son that stopped paying attention to them twenty years ago, you’re the husband that walked out. True, you mostly do all that for the tip. But not just. You do it for the experience, too, to see America from right inside its soft underbelly, right inside people’s fragile lives.

The three most traumatic things that happen to people are the death of a loved one, divorce, and moving houses – worse even than accidents or illness. It’s a known fact. When a loved one dies, family and friends come to console the bereaved, making sure not to let them feel lonely. When there’s a divorce, each party has his side or hers – the family, the lawyer. When there’s a move, they have you, the mover. Your jeans may be filthy, you may have been on the road for three days with their furniture, no chance to shower or shave. You may seem like just a simple guy from the Middle East, your only asset the muscles you use to haul their bed, but in fact you’re much more than that: you’ve sweated for them, traveled for days on end for them, crossed the continent and time zones and climates for them, all in order to bring them their belongings. You’re a shoulder to lean on, and cry on. You’re the sympathetic smile for those with no family to share smiles with. You are the best friend at a stage in life when there are almost no friends to be had.