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“Is a proclivity to violence and vengeance a gender and/or regional trait? Are the minds of men more than women and/or rural folk more than city dwellers predisposed to violent acts of revenge? Or put another way, are violence and vengeance intrinsic components of the male psyche, and if so are men more likely to resort to them in rural settings? These are the central questions posed by Israeli novelist Meir Shalev in his seventh novel Two She-Bears (in the original Hebrew Shtayim Dubim, Am Oved, 2013).” — the opening paragraph of my review in New York Journal of Books

Date: 2016-09-22 02:27 am (UTC)
richardf8: (Ensign_Katz)
From: [personal profile] richardf8
I read it in the Hebrew.

Was it clear to you why the lemon tree hated Saba Ze'ev; why it was so productive when he died? In a family where everyone has their own tree, one might assume it was Ruth's, but Shalev did not seem to ask the reader to make many inferences about it.

Also, did it seem odd to you that the researcher, (was Vered her name?) just sort of dropped out of the novel at the end without any conversation stating that she got what she needed? It seemed to me that after Shalev was done using her as for a narrative frame, he just sort of forgot about her.

Date: 2016-09-22 10:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] davidfcooper.livejournal.com
Interesting insight, [livejournal.com profile] richardf8. It hadn't occurred to me, though if the carob tree is Ze'ev's then the lemon tree being Ruth's makes sense. Varda is just a narrative device, so her disappearance didn't surprise me.

Hope all is well with you and yours. Shana Tova Tikatevu!

Date: 2016-09-23 02:17 am (UTC)
richardf8: (Default)
From: [personal profile] richardf8
I don't think the Carob tree was Saba Ze'ev's except insofar as it was by the Wadi where he liked to go wildcrafting those seeds, which the family called Saba Ze'ev's Wadi.

His particular tree was the Mulberry (טות) that he received as a gift when he was four and that was brought to him at the Moshava together with Ruth, the Cow and the Cart. That was the tree about which Ruta wrote the story for Neta and that was said to have mourned his death by not producing much of a crop the year he died.

Oh, and did you just love Eitan's line when Saba Ze'ev's killer warned him that they would be seen -that anyone passing by would think Eitan was just hugging him and liked him a lot.

Something else I also noticed: Neta is killed by a venomous snake; Eitan killed Ze'ev's killer in the manner of a constrictor.

שנה טובה תכתבו
Edited Date: 2016-09-23 02:18 am (UTC)

Date: 2016-09-23 01:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] davidfcooper.livejournal.com
All good points, [livejournal.com profile] richardf8. I'm currently focused on Amos Oz's "Judas," my review of which will appear in November.


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