Cover image for The heart is Katmandu
The heart is Katmandu
Hoffmann, Yoel.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Lev hu Ḳaṭmandu. English
Publication Information:
New York : New Directions, 2001.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) ; 21 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Set in today's Haifa and presented in 237 dream-like small chapters, it is a book in which shyness and stumbling tenderness emerge triumphant. Poet Peter Cole has made a beautiful translation, capturing Hoffmann's intense and unfathomably original style. A starred Kirkus Review acclaimed the novel "Beautiful, humane, priceless."

Author Notes

Yoel Hoffmann was born in Brasow, Romania in 1937. He is presently a citizen of Israel, and is Professor of Eastern Philosophy at the U. of Haifa. He has had a lifelong scholarly engagement with Hebrew literature, Western philosophy, and Japanese Buddhism. His is the winner of the first Koret Jewish Book Award. His books include The Heart is Katmandu, Bernhardt, The Christ of Fish, and Katschen & The Book of Joseph.

Peter Cole's previous books of poems include Things on Which I've Stumbled (New Directions). Among his volumes of translation are The Poetry of Kabbalah: Mystical Verse from the Jewish Tradition and The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492. Cole, who divides his time between Jerusalem and New Haven, was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2007.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Sensual details of everyday life are magnified and distorted in Yoel Hoffmann's uncommon romance, The Heart Is Katmandu, translated from the Hebrew by Peter Cole. Yehoahim and Batya come together in modern-day Haifa; each has an uncertain past that includes lost love. We are given a glimpse into their minds, where ordinary words and objects become totems, religion and art serve as touchstones, and meaning is as ephemeral as love itself. Less a novel than a loosely woven series of impressionistic prose poems, this will enchant and baffle discriminating readers. ( Apr. 23) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved