Excerpt from Beaufort by Ron Leshem, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Beaufort

By Ron Leshem

Beaufort
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Dec 2007,
    368 pages.
    Paperback: Feb 2009,
    368 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Freezing cold—we call it “cold enough for foxes” up here, ice-cube cold, the nose is frozen and the extremities neutralized. The feet have been numb for ages. Fingers, too. That’s Beaufort. You have cold burns all over but your belly is burning hot, dripping sweat even. At these times everyone starts thinking about some asshole drinking coffee on Sheinkin Street in Tel Aviv. And here’s fucking me, smelling like diesel oil, sweating from fear, lying in the middle of nowhere and nobody’s going to help me if I die. Not the guy in that café on Sheinkin Street, that’s for sure. When I’m blown to pieces a few minutes from now he’ll keep drinking from his mug, probably at the very moment it happens he’ll tell some joke and everyone will fake a laugh and then he’ll go screw his girlfriend, he won’t even turn on the news, and as far as he is concerned, nothing will have happened this evening. Because it’s business as usual for him. He drives to his desk job at army headquarters every morning in the car that Daddy bought him, finishes the army every afternoon at four o’clock, and drinks coffee with whipped cream all the time. Blond hair, five o’clock shadow, sort of ugly. Hate him? You bet, it helps sometimes. Hatred is an excellent solution to boredom.

Beaufort is Oshri. He rolls over in my direction, lies next to me, chews my ear off in whispers. Every time. “Tell me, Erez, please, man: how did I wind up here?” he asks. “What am I doing here dressed up like a bush? Why do I paint my face? What am I, a kid? What am I, in some Crusader fortress, you fucking little prick? What is this, are we living in the Bible? Am I some sort of retard, pissing in bottles? What am I doing here in subzero weather, in the snow, waiting to take down some Arab who decides to climb out of bed at three o’clock in the morning? Does this make sense to you? And then going back to that stinking trash can I sleep in up at the outpost? Does that seem logical? Tell me, have you seen where I sleep? It isn’t good for me here, really not good. Grown-ups shouldn’t have to live like this, sinking in black mud mixed with snow at night. It’s a bad fucking trip is what it is. Open your eyes. People have been dying on this mountain for a thousand years, isn’t it about time to close shop? I swear, it doesn’t make sense that there’s such a place as Beaufort. I’m telling you, there’s no such place and we’re all stuck in this nightmare for no good reason. It’s a mistake.”

He goads me, tries every time to shoot the matter to new heights on the scale of absurdity, astonishing himself, while I bust up laughing, out of control, but it’s all inside so they won’t see. I take care to hold it in. I know in a minute or two the guy will sober up. I know him. Everything will look normal again, logical. He chose to be here, and he has a good reason for it, the best, and he’ll remember it. He loves the mountain, it’s good for him. And I’m good for him, too. He’s my soul mate, my good luck charm, my best friend since the first cigarette at the induction center. Friend? No way: brother! My brother, who knows what’s best for me better than I ever will. He says, “Erez, draw a black sheep for me,” and I draw him a whole flock. He says, “Erez, give me a hug, you pussy,” and I climb into bed with him, squash his little body into the wall, fall asleep holding him. He says, “Erez,” and I know it’s for life.

And sometimes Beaufort is a one-night ambush. Even then we bring the beef jerky. Of course we do! One night, simple, like the one in December ’97. I’m the squad sergeant, lying in a thorny bush just as dawn is breaking, lost in thought. Calm. Like I’m drugged. That calm. And my whole being is dying to run down that steep, rocky slope covered with undergrowth, run to the edge of the cliff and leap off. An incredible dive from the peak of the mountain to the sweetwater runoff in the deep valley below, a long, whistling plunge that thunders in my ears. I am dying to dip into those waters, to float on my back, get swept away by the current into the blue streams, lie in the shade of the soft, bold, wild vegetation that crowds around the water and snakes after it like a dream jungle. To warm up lying like barefoot nature children on rocks: naked, horny, carefree. Dying to smoke a joint, get high, laze around, snuggle. Oshri says you can hear the splash of the water from below if you really try, but the closer you are the more forbidden and dangerous it is. Beaufort is a cage of ugliness right at the center of heaven. You hardly move one hesitant camouflaged foot to the outskirts of our iron gate, groping, sniffing, then you come back and close yourself inside our little enclave again. If only I could fly along the rivers and by way of the mountains I would be home already.

Excerpted from Beaufort by Ron Leshem, translated by Evan Fallenberg. Copyright © 2007 by Ron Leshem. Excerpted by permission of Delacorte Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Shotgun Lovesongs
    Shotgun Lovesongs
    by Nickolas Butler
    Nickolas Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, follows five life-long friends, now in their mid-...
  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...
  • Book Jacket: The Goldfinch
    The Goldfinch
    by Donna Tartt
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer for Fiction.

    Her canvas is vast. To frame a story about art, love and ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Who Said...

There are two kinds of light - the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.