|"With its universal themes of healing, recovery, creativity, and finding one’s vocation The Man Who Never Stopped Sleeping should engage the wide readership Appelfeld’s prose deserves. Readers may want to buy extra copies and donate them to VA hospitals." -- from my review in New York Journal of Books.
“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
"On the surface the new novel is about feminism and the right of women to choose not to bear children. But an underlying theme is whether liberal nationalism is an oxymoron, whether the rights of the individual (the essence of liberalism) can be reconciled with the needs of the nation." -- from my New York Journal of Books review of The Extra by Abraham B. Yehoshua. For an excerpt from the novel see my examiner article.
In my examiner article I write:
"Two fiction books published this month explore what home means for two distinct waves of recent immigrants. Boris Fishman continues to relate the experiences of Russian speaking Jews who immigrated to America in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s in his second novel Don't Let My Baby Do Rodeo, and Canadian-Israeli writer Ayelet Tsabari explores the lives of young Israelis at home and abroad in her debut book of short stories The Best Place on Earth: Stories, which won the Jewish Book Council’s $100, 000 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature in 2015 for the 2013 Canadian edition."
Also see my New York Journal of Books reviews of the two books:
In my New York Journal of Books review of Youval Shimoni's A Room I write: "A Room is strongly recommended to readers of post-modern and experimental fiction who enjoy stream of consciousness narratives and who are willing to delve deeper than a thin plot’s surface level."
See my examiner article for additional excerpts from the novel.
"A fictional and more literary tale of an Egyptian Jewish family’s diminished circumstances after immigrating to Israel is The Sound of Our Steps by Ronit Matalon, a novel published today in Dalya Bilu’s English translation by Metropolitan Books. In my New York Journal of Books review I praise it as a 'beautifully written and skillfully translated book that rewards rereading.'” -- from my examiner article Israeli Books: Ronit Matalon's autobiographic novel The Sound of Our Steps
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"There are books that make us feel intensely and others that make us think deeply; one that does both is Gail Hareven’s opalescent and psychologically complex eleventh novel Lies, First Person (in the original Hebrew Hashkarim Ha’aharonim Shel Hagoof which literally translates as The Body’s Last Lies), which is only the second (The Confessions of Noa Weber) of her 13 books for adults to be published in English in Dalya Bilu’s fine translation." - From my New York Journal of Books review
"Lies, First Person, Gail Hareven’s second novel to be translated into English (the eleventh of her thirteen adult books published in Hebrew), which is published today by Open Letter Books, is both an emotionally compelling narrative and a novel of ideas. Its characters find different ways of coping with the emotional aftermath of an unreported and unpunished crime, and the novel invites its readers to consider such questions as the nature of evil and the justification of vengeance and retribution." - From my examiner.com article
“The Betrayers succeeds by combining thought provoking ethical dilemmas with dramatic tension in an engaging prose style and is enthusiastically recommended.” - from my New York Journal of Books review (which includes spoilers). For additional remarks, excerpts, and an exploration of the novel as a roman a clef see my examiner article.
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"Anglophone readers (especially those who also read Hebrew) will find both this handsome book’s bilingual presentation of Ruebner’s selected poems, and his heart wrenching backstory described by translator Rachel Tzvia Back in her informative introduction and endnotes, compelling reading."
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“As moving as are each of these expressions of grief the cumulative effect of Falling Out of Time‘s nearly 200 pages is even more powerful. It certainly conveys bereaved parents’ pain to readers who have not suffered that loss and may help some mourning parents work through their grief, though others may feel it reopens emotional wounds.” -- from my New York Journal of Books review of David Grossman's new multi-genre book.
Also see my examiner article.( Read more... )
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Here is my New York Journal of Books review of Amos Oz's new book of short stories Between Friends. As I discuss in my examiner article, this book and his previous book of short stories reflect two distinct emotional reactions to capitalism's defeat of socialism in Israeli society and its economy.
"Kinship is a central theme in Israeli writer Dror Burstein's novel Kin, which is published today in Dalya Bilu's English translation by Dalkey Archive Press. The book portrays the inner life of Yoel, a senior citizen, widower, and adoptive father who decides to find his adult son Emile's biological parents and reunite him with them."
Kinship is a central element in Judaism along with the revelation at Sinai, the Torah, and observance of laws derived from the Torah. Performing traditional customs and rituals connects us to earlier generations of Jews. Our identity is in part defined by our genealogy going all the way back to the patriarchs and matriarchs. Indeed so important is this genealogy that conversion to Judaism ritually severs the convert's previous genealogy, and he or she is ritually referred to as a son or daughter of Abraham and Sarah.
Also see my New York Journal of Books review of "Kin": http://goo.gl/gAtWg