Cover image for Six Israeli novellas
Six Israeli novellas
Almog, Ruth.
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : David R. Godine, Publisher, 1999.
Physical Description:
xii, 338 pages ; 22 cm.
Introduction / Gershon Shaked -- Shrinking / Ruth Almog -- Yani on the mountain / David Grossman -- Uncle Peretz takes flight / Yaakov Shabtai -- Small change / Yehudit Hendel -- My brother / Benjamin Tammuz -- In the Isles of St. George / Aharon Appelfeld.
Reading Level:
1260 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PJ5059.E8 S49 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

The six novellas of this anthology represent Israeli fiction of the '60s, '70s and '80s in terms as complex and variegated as Israel's political and social terrain continues to be. Seeking to purge himself of guilt, the relentlessly itinerant Chohovsky of Aharon Appelfeld's modern myth "In the Isles of St. George" exiles himself to an uninhabited island south of Italy. Chohovsky, who has changed his name numerous times to dodge the authorities and duck the consequences of his shady business dealings, has a series of dreams about his youth in Poland, his family, wiped out by the Holocaust, his years of wandering as a fugitive. The island's not as deserted as Chohovsky thought, however, and his tender relationship with a Christian monk about to set out for Jerusalem inspires a kind of resurrection. The title character in Yaakov Shabtai's touching "Uncle Peretz Takes Flight," a devout Party member, develops an excruciating passion for another woman that he must keep secret from his patient, vegetarian wife, Yona. The rich descriptions of prewar Palestine thicken the already bittersweet romantic atmosphere with "Persian lilac... fine golden sand... dry leaves and dove feathers and pieces of coal left over from the fires." Built around a triangle involving an embittered soldier, a poet-journalist and the leftist woman they both love, David Grossman's "Yani on the Mountain" (1980) explores the societal burden of Israel's military structure. In the aftermath of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the last Israeli unit withdrawing from Sinai plans to blow up a key Israeli intelligence station. Narrated in journal form by YaniÄone of the two men who loves NimraÄthe novella puts the friends and rivals in the middle of a political conflict that dramatizes their personal dilemmas. Benjamin Tammuz, Ruth Almog and Yehudit Hendel are the other contributors. Taken together, the novellas offer diverse observations about the identity of the Israeli Jew in modern society, the harsh necessities of political and patriotic responsibility, the hardships of love. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Six popular Israeli authors are featured in this new English translation of earlier short works that originally appeared in Hebrew from the mid-1960s through the late 1980s. Ruth Almog's "Shrinking" is an impressionistic study in quintessential female loneliness. Abigail, a single schoolteacher, takes care of her aging father and searches for diversions. A suitor who is a former student tells her that she is bereft because she never learned to love herself. David Grossman's "Yani on the Mountain" is a story of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. This is early Grossman, circa 1980, displaying a self-conscious style that no longer appears in his work. Also included is Aharon Appelfeld's "In the Isles of St. George," in which a fugitive black marketeer takes refuge on a desolate Italian island. His past, his Jewishness, and his sense of identity are resolved when he fills in for a solitary monk in a remote monastery. The collection also includes works by Yaakov Shabtai, Yehudit Hendel, and Benjamin Tammuz. A fine collection of Israeli short fiction; recommended for all libraries.ÄMolly Abramowitz, Silver Spring, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Israeli authors writing in Hebrew depend on translation as the sole means for communicating with an international audience beyond the confines of the relatively tiny circle of readers of Hebrew. Fortunately, a good deal of Israeli literature has been ably translated, and this collection of works by Ruth Almog, David Grossman, Yaakov Shabtai, Yehudit Hendel, Benjamin Tammuz, and Aharon Appelfeld adds a volume of impressive contemporary fictions. In a concise introduction, Shaked describes each writer's thematic concerns and stylistic features, viewing them within the context of 20th-century literary innovators such as Kafka, Woolf, and Camus. The experiential content of the stories ranges from the domestic to the transcendental, the fantastic to the gritty realistic. Most of the stories set the human drama against an unidentified landscape; only two give evidence of their national setting--Grossman's "Yani on the Mountain" (which takes place on an abandoned military base following the 1973 conflict) and Tammuz's "My Brother" (which begins in the early days of Israel's settlement). Most of the narratives are compelling; all of them add to one's appreciation of complex, insightful fictions. Regrettably, the volume suffers from poor proofreading: it contains more mistakes than this reviewer has ever seen in a commercially published book. General readers; upper-division undergraduates and graduate students. M. Butovsky; Concordia University