the short story project


Omri Herzog On:

Honey by Liat Elkayam

A great story relays more than its words recount. “Honey” is a deceptive story: it includes a realistic account of the night a couple spends after their wedding, from the perspective of the newly wedded bride. I believe that this night—fraught with turbulent and surreptitious drama—has yet to be described in Hebrew literature; certainly in this fashion. It must be perfect, of course, because it is the “first night”, a harbinger. But how could it be perfect when the artificial nature of the wedding ceremony and the hard work invested in it leaves its marks on the facial skin, on the body and on the emotion? No, this is a night of total exhaustion, immersed with inevitable disappointment, hopeless longing and also a certain confusion that pertains to the new words: my husband, my wife. All these emotions are conveyed through the remarkable laconicism of the story, which is devoid of melodrama and yet still emotionally stirring. It illustrates simple scenes: standing in front of the hotel room’s locked door; lingering in the bath before the “wedding night”; the imprint of the shoe strap on the ankle. But all this ceremonial, romantic, emotional, erotic and social weight imposed on these scenes makes them “larger than life”, precisely because they are smaller than life, pettier and even ridiculous compared to the fantasy of the “wedding night”. This is Liat Elkayam’s greatness as a storyteller: so much is relayed in “Honey”, skillfully and in detail, in the very heart of things, without words.