At 77, Amos Oz delivers “Judas” set in Jerusalem in 1959-60. It’s one of the most triumphant novels of a magnificent career.
In spite of its brevity, Etgar Keret’s first memoir delivers some very big truths about the public and private lives of the Israeli author, and his society writ large.
The suffering of characters in David Grossman’s latest novel, ‘Falling Out of Time,’ becomes achingly real on the page. Its language is so poetic, it sounds like liturgy for mourning rituals.
Amos Oz fled his dogmatic father’s Jerusalem home for a kibbutz where he raised a family. His latest book, ‘Between Friends,’ was inspired by that personal history.
His strident politics notwithstanding, Mark Helprin’s magically descriptive powers have rendered up some of the most genuinely adventurous writing of our time.
FORWARD BOOKS SPECIAL: Novelist Meir Shalev tells the true story of his grandmother. She’s a Zionist heroine in her own mind, and a deranged malcontent to everyone else.
In the world of comics, Israel has a long and lively culture of illustrated political commentary. There’s even an Israeli Museum of Caricature and Comics in Holon to honor that tradition. Contemporary work from graphic novelists such as Rutu Modan, Yirmi Pinkus and Asaf Hanuka is attracting international raves, and the scene is filled with emerging talent. The young artist Sivan Hurvitz stands out, though, for her highly controversial series, “Turn Right at the End.” Based on her senior undergraduate thesis at the Holon Institute of Technology, the show imaginatively critiques what she and many others perceive as alarmingly anti-democratic and intolerant tendencies in contemporary Israel. Set in possible future Israels, Hurvitz’s scenes may repel some and provoke sadness, recognition or unease in others, but her visceral imagery will leave nobody untouched. Her Zion, rendered as both familiar and unknown, is at a turning point in its history.
There is a moment in David Grossman?s novel, ?See Under: Love,? when an Israeli son of Holocaust survivors gazes at his own sleeping child and remarks to his beaming wife: ??It?s a good thing he can sleep through all the noise? He may have to sleep with tanks passing in the streets someday.?? Perhaps that stark utterance was the catalyst for Grossman?s latest novel, ?To the End of the Land,? with its gripping meditation on love, war, suffering and rebirth. In the future, this may be regarded as Israel?s definitive anti-war novel, but that does not begin to account for its shattering poetry, nor for its incandescent empathy for characters whose euphoria and sorrows are fully revealed.
Aharon Appelfeld has earned an esteemed, if lonely, reputation for himself as Israel’s writer of the Nazi and pre-Nazi era. This landscape and its immediate aftermath form his near-exclusive literary topography. As a result, he is more often compared to Central European Jewish writers such as Franz Kafka than to Israeli writers of his generation. Within the limitations of this milieu though, he has been astonishingly prolific. His more than 30 works of fiction and nonfiction, including the classic early work “Badenheim 1939” and a late powerful memoir, “The Story of a Life” (2006), have brought him justifiable acclaim for the searing language he uses to explore the effects of absence, silence, and the scars of memory.
Readers who last encountered Amos Oz in “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” his elegiac and often somber memoir, may be taken aback by the literary sleight of hand he performs in this highly entertaining short novel. Though nearly plotless, and ostensibly a work of postmodern metafiction, “Rhyming Life & Death” never taxes the reader’s patience. Based on a story that Oz published decades ago (“The Author Meets His Readers”), the narrative encompasses a single night in 1980s Tel Aviv. Much of it takes place in the consciousness of a figure known simply as “The Author,” who, while giving a presentation about his new book, finds himself preoccupied with such matters as the peculiar nature of the cult of the author, the imagined lives of the strangers attending his event and the unsettling lust stirred within him by a young waitress earlier that evening.