“Trumpet Lessons,” by Yoav Avni
Featured in this month's International Flash Fiction issue is a high-velocity, highly compressed piece by accomplished Israeli writer Yoav Avni. “Trumpet Lessons,” translated by Margalit Rodgers, begins with a line that is repeated near the end:
“Now he’s cold and he doesn’t believe it and he’s crying.”
In between, a lifetime is imagined. It's no small task for the reader to balance a fictional character's hypothetical life, amidst trying to decode the author's process of forward-movement and reverse. At least that's one justification for needing to re-remember the beginning of a 350 word story by the time one reaches the end.
Hopefully we'll see Avni's books translated soon. His two novels, Three Things for a Desert Island and To Be, were published in 2006 and 2009, and the former was nominated for a Geffen Award. Avni's first book, a collection Those Strange Americans, was published in 1995. Last July, Zeek published a story from that collection, “Your Lights are On,” translated by Evelina Kuchuk. As Zeek translations editor Adam Rovner writes, Avni's story “speaks to the intractable struggle between young lovers, rather than the political 'situation'…. In Avni's hands, jealousy and disbelief twist a Tel Aviv love story into something that resembles madness and delusion.”