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The liberated bride
Yehoshua, Abraham B.
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Uniform Title:
Kalah ha-meshaḥreret. English
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
Orlando : Harcourt, [2003]

Physical Description:
568 pages ; 23 cm
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Yohanan Rivlin, a professor at Haifa University, is a man of boundless and often naïve curiosity. His wife, Hagit, a district judge, is tolerant of almost everything but her husband's faults and prevarications. Frequent arguments aside, they are a well-adjusted couple with two grown sons.
When one of Rivlin's students-a young Arab bride from a village in the Galilee-is assigned to help with his research in recent Algerian history, a two-pronged mystery develops. As they probe the causes of the bloody Algerian civil war, Rivlin also becomes obsessed with his son's failed marriage.
Rivlin's search leads to a number of improbable escapades. In this comedy of manners, at once deeply serious and highly entertaining, Yehoshua brilliantly portrays characters from disparate sectors of Israeli life, united above all by a very human desire for, and fear of, the truth in politics and life.

Author Notes

Abraham B. Yehoshua, known commonly as A.B. Yehoshua, was born in Jerusalem on December 19, 1936. He studied Hebrew literature and philosophy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has taught at high-school and university levels and is currently a professor of literature at Haifa University.

He is a novelist, essayist, and playwright. His first book of stories, The Death of the Old Man, was published in 1962. His novels include Mr. Mani, Open Heart, Five Seasons, and Friendly Fire. He won the Israeli Prize in 1994.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

As he has proved in acclaimed previous novels (Mr. Mani; Open Heart), Yehoshua is a keen observer of social and political realities, and a subtle writer capable of reflecting complex situations in events of daily life. Here, what at first appears to be a bittersweet comedy of domestic manners set in 1990s Israel morphs into a searching exploration of a politically divided society in which decent people, both Jews and Arabs, try to live peaceably with each other. To be sure, this is a small segment of Israeli society: the Israeli intelligentsia, represented by Professor Yochanan Rivlin and his wife, Hagit, a district judge, who live in Haifa, as well as educated Arabs in Galilee villages whose existence is circumscribed by the rules of occupation. Many mysteries shimmer beneath the narrative's surface. Underlying the affectionate domestic banter of Yochanan and Hagit is Yochanan's obsessive quest to discover what went wrong in the short marriage of their son and his wife, a quest complicated by a horrifying secret the sundered couple have vowed not to divulge. Meanwhile, an Arab graduate student of Yochanan's, whose wedding begins the narrative, seeks to earn her degree by translating the works of contemporary Arab poets collected by an Israeli scholar killed in a terrorist bombing. The threat of violence, while acknowledged by everyone, is not in the forefront of the plot, which is more concerned with the complacency of intelligent Israeli Jews in the face of the plight of their Arab neighbors. The grand achievement of this trenchant novel is its quietly provocative and deeply important consideration of how the desire for liberation of various kinds is inescapable in human nature. Although one character speaks in measured terms of "the abyss we are all about to fall into," it is the simple aspirations of ordinary people that illuminate the larger issues.(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Yohannon Rivlin is a senior professor at Haifa University, an engaging scholar who travels in both the Jewish and the Arab worlds. At the opening, he attends the wedding of a talented female graduate student (an Arab from Galilee), which sets him wondering (he does so easily) about the curiously failed marriage of his son. Visiting his ailing mentor in the hospital, he learns of the death of his son's former father-in-law, causing him to renew ties to that family. As the mystery of the failed marriage deepens, Rivlin comes by a valuable cache of papers shedding light on his research area, Algerian history. He enlists the help of the new bride, whose marriage has question marks of its own, in translating and sorting the papers. The title word liberated is both ironic and informative (new bride, ex-bride, and so on), and a high point of the book is the interplay between Rivlin and his wife, Hagit, a judge. This is a great read from one of Israel's premier authors, by turns profoundly funny and simply profound-there's a deep understanding of interpersonal relationships regardless of geography. Strongly recommended for all fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/03.]-Robert E. Brown, Minoa Lib., NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



PART IA Village WeddingHAD HE KNOWN that on this evening, on the hill where the village held its celebrations, an evening suffused by the scent of a fig tree bent over the table like another, venerable guest, he would again be struck-but powerfully-by a sense of failure and missed opportunity, he might have more decisively made his excuses to Samaher, his annoyingly ambitious M.A. student, who, not content with sending him an invitation by mail and then repeating it to his face, had gone and chartered a minibus, after first urging the new department head to make sure the faculty attended her wedding. It wasn't just for her sake, she said. It would be a gesture to all the university's Arab students, without whom-the cheek of it!-the department would count for nothing.His wife, Hagit, who knew all too well how weddings had depressed him in recent years, had warned against it. "Why do you need the aggravation?" she had asked. "But they're Arabs," he'd answered mildly, with the innocence of a man pursuing an academic interest. "As opposed to what?" she had wanted to know. "Human beings?" "On the contrary...on the contrary..." he had tried defending himself, at a loss to explain how Arabs, although not among the many objects of his envy, could be more human than anyone else.Yet the snake of envy, his companion of many years, had slithered after him here too, to the little village of Mansura high up in the Galilee, near the Lebanese border. It had lain coiled in the incense of the glowing grilled lamb and writhed to the Oriental music that, despite its sobbing grace notes, secretly aspired to the savage disco beat of a Jewish wedding party-and now, as the student bride presented him not with the seminar paper she was a year late in finishing, but with her groom, it injected its venom.Many hands had done their best to beautify Samaher, causing him to wonder for a moment whether he was looking at the same woman who had taken nearly all of his courses for the past five years. High heels and a swept-up hairdo had made her taller, and her usually restless eyes, chronically resentful when not anxiously scheming-the eyes of an active member of the Arab Student Committee-were smiling and relaxed. She was also without her glasses, and her eyes were heavily made up with a kohl so unusually tinted that he suspected it of having been smuggled across the border from Lebanon. A bright rouge masked the pimples that wandered as a rule from her cheeks to her throat and back again, and her long wedding gown bestowed a harmony, if only for a single night, on a figure not known for its sartorial coordination. Brimming with pride at having enticed him, the most senior and eminent of her teachers, to honor her and all Araby with his presence, she extended a hand quivering with excitement to his wife."So this is the teacher who's so annoyed at you," laughed the groom, pumping his hand in what could have been either an acknowledgment of Samaher's flightiness or a Excerpted from The Liberated Bride by A. B. Yehoshua All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.