||Meir Shalev, My Russian Grandmother and Her
American Vacuum Cleaner: A Family Memoir (Schocken Books)
A lighthearted tale of family ties and over-the-top housekeeping in the
village of Meir Shalev's birth, where his unforgettable Grandma Tonia,
who came to Palestine by boat from Russia in 1923, lived in a constant
state of battle with the family's biggest enemy in their adoptive land:
Grandma Tonia was never seen without a cleaning rag over her shoulder,
and she allowed only the most privileged guests to enter her spotless
house. This matriarch and her hilarious regulations come
richly to life in a narrative that circles around the arrival into the
family's dusty agricultural midst of the big, shiny American sweeper
sent as a gift by Uncle Yeshayahu (who had emigrated to the capitalist
heaven of Los Angeles). The fate of the "svieeperrr" - which
Tonia hid away for decades after its initual use - is a family mystery
that Shalev determines to solve in this charming memoir of the
obsessive but loving Tonia, and the grit and humor of the pioneers who
gave his childhood its spirit of wonder.
|Yair Lapid, Memories After My Death (Elliott
Memories After My Death
is the astonishing true story of Tommy Lapid, a well-loved and
controversial Israeli figure who witnessed the developmpent of the
country from all angles over its first sixty years. A Jewish
who survived the horrors of the Holocaust and arrived in Tel Aviv at
the birth of Israel, Tommy Lapid was a journalist, playwright,
international businessman, TV star, and finally, deputy prime minister
and leader of the anti-Orthodox movement. His is a very
story as well as the breathtaking saga of a nation that emerged from
After My Death was written by Tommy's son Yair, the
popular television broadcaster, journalist and author.
||Alon Hilu, House of Rajani (Harvill Secker/Random House
year is 1895, Jaffa. Salah Rajani, a troubled Muslim boy living in a
dilapidated mansion surrounded by orange groves, suffers from peculiar
visions about a disaster which is set to befall his people.
life is changed by the arrival of a handsome young man, a dynamic
Jewish settler, new to the city, by the name of Isaac Luminsky.
Luminsky covets both the fertile lands of the Rajani estate and Salah's
beautiful mother Afifa, and his friendship with the boy is destined to
lead to violence and tragedy.
This rich and colourful
novel is made up of the two opposing journals of Hilu's intriguing and
extraordinary protagonists as they negotiate love, honour and betrayal
in the changing world of nineteenth-century Palestine.
|| Meir Shalev, A
a Boy (Pantheon)
Finalist for the PEN Translation Prize
This mesmerizing novel by internationally
acclaimed Israeli novelist Meir Shalev is set in both contemporary
Israel and during the 1948 War of Independence: two stories of love,
separated by half a century, but connected by one magical act of
In 1948--a time when pigeons are still used
to deliver battlefield messages--a gifted young pigeon handler is
mortally wounded. In the moments before his death, he dispatches one
last pigeon. The bird is carrying his indelible gift to the girl he has
loved since adolescence. Intertwined with this story is that of the
girl’s son--an expert birdwatcher who, in middle age falls in love
again with a childhood girlfriend, his growing passion for her, along
with a gift from his mother on her deathbed, becoming the key to a life
he thought no longer possible.
Unforgettable in both its particulars and
its sweep, A Pigeon and A Boy is rich in description and detail, and
soaring in imagination. In a voice that is at once playful, wise,
heartbreaking, and altogether beguiling, it tells a story as universal
as war, and as intimate as a whispered declaration of love.
Meir Shalev’s six novels have been
translated into more than twenty languages. He is the recipient of
numerous awards including, in 2006, the Brenner Prize--the most
prestigious Israeli literary award--for A Pigeon and a Boy.
He is a columnist for the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot, and lives with
his family in Jerusalem and northern Israel.
|| Ron Leshem, Beaufort
up for the 2010 Times Literary Supplement Risa Domb/Porjes Prize for
the Translation of Hebrew Literature. From the judges'
"Evan Fallenberg creatively transfers the colloquial and idiosyncratic
language from one cultural context to another. Humour, macabre irony,
love and fear are all conveyed through the reconstruction of the young
soldiers' authentic language in English. The fluency and flexibility of
the English translation faithfully recreate the sensibilities,
complexities and tones of the Hebrew original."
This stunning debut—winner of Israel’s top
literary prize in 2006 and now a Berlin International Film Festival
award-winning movie—is a haunting coming-of-age story set at an Israeli
outpost in southern Lebanon.
a beautiful and deadly Crusader fort in southern Lebanon, is a world of
its own, an enclave in the heart of enemy territory where young Israeli
soldiers create a state with its own rules and its own unique language.
Written as the diary of Liraz Liberti, the
twenty-one-year-old head of a thirteen-man commando team stationed at
Beaufort during the last winter of Israeli occupation, BEAUFORT addresses
the horrors and absurdities of war head-on, as seen through the eyes of
the young men who must fight it. Following soldiers as they struggle
through impossibly dangerous and vague missions, wrestle with the
meaning of war and death, and wonder about love, sex, and their
relationships with the people they left behind in Israel, this searing
novel expresses the impossible reality in which the young men, all in
their late teens or early 20s, move into adulthood through the most
challenging rites of passage.
Wild and hypnotic, in indelible scenes that
echo the experience of men stationed in Iraq, BEAUFORT powerfully
captures the soldier's experience and the ways that war changes not
only those who fight, but also those who wait for them to come home.
Ron Leshem is deputy director in charge of
programming at Channel Two, Israel’s main commercial television
network. He lives in Tel Aviv and is at work on his second novel.
|| Alon Hilu, Death of a Monk
(Harvill Secker/Random House UK)
The place is Damascus, the year 1840. A
stormy nighttime encounter between the Italian monk Tomaso and Atzlan
Farhi, a Jewish youth and scion of a wealthy family of merchants, ends
in an unexpected death of terrible ramifications: the Jews of Damascus
are accused of having murdered the monk in order to use his blood for
the baking of Passover matzahs.
In rich, vivid language that startles in its
virtuosity and versatility, Death
of a Monk presents a fictitious version of the historical
event known as the Damascus Blood Libel. The hero of this version is
the youth Atzlan, who is grappling with his desire for men within the
constricts of a traditional patriarchal society and who complicates
matters when he falls in love with two mysterious characters: Mahmud
Altali, a yellow-haired, blue-eyed Christian Arab investigating the
monk’s disappearance, and Umm-Jihan, a stunningly beautiful singer who
performs at a coffee house that offers pleasures of every kind to all
who seek them.
The Damascus of Death of a Monk is
a colorful city, lively and sensual, and very dark as well, teeming
with fear, malice and hostility. In its alleyways and marketplaces,
Alon Hilu unfolds his surprising, powerful historical and literary tour
de force, whose source is an emotional and sexual conflict and whose
outcome is a blood libel.
Alon Hilu was born in 1972. He lives with
his family in Tel Aviv, where he practices law. Death of a Monk is
his first novel.
a Review from the Independent
|| Batya Gur, Murder in
Modern Israel is a place filled with
contradictions: the beautiful landscape often rife with human conflict;
the tranquil and the peaceful in constant struggle with terrible
destruction; and amazing human love and kindness set against a backdrop
of civil strife. Through the eyes of a writer like Batya Gur and her
supreme creation, Chief Superintendent Michael Ohayon, these
contradictions and complexities are treated with an intimate
familiarity and a rare depth of understanding.
When the body of a woman is discovered in
the wardrobe warehouses of Israel Television, the brooding Oyahon
embarks on a tangled and bloody journey of detection through the
corridors and studios of Israel’s official television station and,
especially, through the relations, tensions, fears, loves and courage
of the people who make the station what it is. It is a journey that
brings into question the very ideals upon which Ohayon -- and indeed
the entire nation -- was raised, ideals that may have led to terrible
Chief Superindentent Ohayon has spent his
career surrounded by perplexing and horrific cases, but perhaps nothing
disturbs him more deeply that what this mysterious woman's murder
reveals. For the media, which is often at the center of the Israeli
consciousness -- a place where political tensions, hostility,
corruption and the ethnic, social and religious divisions that shake
the nation come together -- may indeed be at the root of an unspeakable
Murder in Jerusalem is the crowning
achievement of a magnificent career, this final installment in the
Michael Ohayon series a wonderful parting gift from the incomparable
Batya Gur -- one last fascinating visit to an always tumultuous land,
in the company of a writer and a detective so many devoted readers have
loved so well.
Read a review from the New York Times.
Yair Lapid, Sunset in Moscow
Vardi Kahana, One Family
exhibition for the Andrea Meislin Gallery, New York
Gilad Evron, The Falcon (Granta
Gilad Evron, Only Language
Remains (a play)
Natan Zach, The Ghost in the
Savyon Liebrecht, Brigitta's
Lior Navok, The Little
Mermaid a libretto for an original musical composition
Agur Schiff, Bad Habits
Botanical Epiphany (Israel Museum catalog), The Princess and the Pea:
In Memory of Batya Gur
Assaf Gavron, Moving
Mishka Ben David, Duet in
Nitza Eyal, Psychological
Rina Mitrani, Every Home Needs
Yigal Sarna, Flood