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Articles tagged "Israel"

My Favorite Bookstore: Yardenne Greenspan on Halper’s Books

Halper's Books, 87 Allenby Street, Tel Aviv, Israel 65134 A path emerges from the busy, smoky, sooty Allenby Street in southern Tel Aviv, leading to a yard fenced in by bookcases. The books in the yard are mostly in French, but the ones inside the shop are in Hebrew and English, too. Tel Aviv’s shouting and honking, the outdoor bars and discount clothing stores, the black exhaust dust that stains your feet, the heaving buses—these are all left behind when you step inside....

Adania Shibli’s “We Are All Equally Far from Love”

With the publication of her debut novel, Touch (translated from the Arabic by Paula Haydar)—told from the point of view of a little girl living at the time of the Sabra and Shatila massacre—Palestinian writer Adania Shibli was hailed as a strikingly original new voice in Arabic literature. Her second novel, We Are All Equally Far From Love, now out in a faultless translation by Paul Starkey, will confirm the young Galilee-born writer’s reputation as a formally brilliant...

Review

After the intermission, when they prepped the audience and warmed them up with an acrobatic display, clowns, and other supporting acts, the second part began, the main one, the part with the adored women. Wind instruments, festive but refined, herald the entrance of the star Dolly Scheinwald. She strides erect. She is very beautiful. Her form draped in a black dress with a deep reveal, her hair black and her alto a sensual rasp. Two bachelor spectators, high in the gods, know she’ll...

A Necessary Distance from Reality: An Interview with Rutu Modan

Rutu Modan is a rarity. One of the few established comics artists in Israel, she is also one of the few established female comics artists in the world. After graduating from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, Modan began writing and illustrating comic strips and stories for Israel's leading daily newspapers, as well as editing the Israeli edition of MAD magazine with Yirmi Pinkus. In 1995, she and Pinkus cofounded Actus Tragicus, an internationally acclaimed collective...

Velocity

I met her on the day that I divorced the sow. She came up to me and asked if I wanted a hug. She was wearing a black T-shirt with the words “International Hug Day” emblazoned on it. Behind her trailed a flock of smiling huggers. On any other day I would have yelled at them to go get a real job, since I knew they were the type who turn the celebration of “international days”—days like “No-Smoking Day,” “Family Day,” “Accident-Free...

Spider

Your long years of service in this institution entitle you to at least this one privilege. You get your double espresso in a real cup over the heads of the students crowded around the counter, and you go find a seat at one of the tables. To say your spirits are low would be a wild understatement. You try to withdraw into yourself, but all you find there are fathomless recesses of blackness, gloom, and self-loathing. You’ve just come out of a class to which only a third of the...

No Way Out: Talking to Orly Castel-Bloom, Agur Schiff, and Moshe Ron

Orly Castel-Bloom is getting ready to leave. “I’ll buy an apartment in Montpelier,” she said. “I’ll write policiers. I’ll tell the French about themselves. They love hearing about themselves. I’ll be a sort of Trojan horse.” The landscape she’ll be leaving behind, if she ever does leave, is like a small snow globe that perfectly captures the thrills and tumults of the society it represents. Being a small country in perpetual...

Diary

At eight in the morning I looked at my watch and it was eight o’clock. At nine-thirty I looked at my watch and it was nine-thirty. At eleven in the morning I looked at my watch and it was ten to eleven. At twelve noon I looked at my watch and it was twenty to twelve. At one in the afternoon I looked at my watch and it was twelve-twenty. At four in the afternoon I looked at my watch and it was twelve-twenty. And at quarter past five when I looked at my watch it was still...

from “What You Wished For”

The Kid was back. Ziggy heard the dog’s toenails clicking on the floor while he did his usual dance. But for the Kid the dog also added yelps of joy to the ritual. The dog was more attached to the Kid than to Ziggy, or to his Wife or to the Uncle, who was his original owner. “Lucky, you goddamn sonofabitch you,” Ziggy heard the Kid say to the dog in a babyish tone of affection. He was seventeen, his only son, tall and thin and fair-eyed like his mother, clumsy and...

Meir Shalev’s “My Russian Grandmother and her American Vacuum Cleaner”

Back in the 1920s, Sigmund Freud was presenting his theories on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder—“unquestionably the most interesting” area of analytic research, in his opinion—little aware that in Palestine there lived a young Russian Jewish settler whose extreme aversion to dirt, and the complex routines she developed to cope with that aversion, would have made for a uniquely valuable case study. Happily for psychological posterity and for us, Tonia Ben-Barak and her...

from “Soul Mate”

My father-in-law, Feibush, arrived unannounced at my doorstep in the middle of the week. I was writing out a mezuzah and so, fortunately, my cabinet of secular books was closed. Feibush’s eyes brightened when he saw the parchment, the quill in my hand, and the large yarmulke upon my head. Only when his gaze rested upon the closed book cabinet did a kind of cloud descend over his face. I suspected that he knew full well what trials and tribulations hid upon those shelves. And though...

from “Almost Dead”

I climbed aboard the Little No. 5 as I did every morning on my way to work. “Little No. 5” is what I call the minibus-sized cab which follows the route of the No. 5 bus. It’s actually a cross between a bus and a cab. You get the best of both worlds—the familiar route and the cheapness of the bus, but they’ve got the speed of a cab and you can hail them and get off where you like. And since there are bombs all the time, I only ever took Little No. 5s to work...

from “Farm 54”

Image description

Galit Seliktar and Gilad Seliktar map a soldier's first evacuation

The graphic novel Farm 54 brings together three semi-autobiographical stories from the childhood, puberty, and early adulthood (military service years) of its female protagonist, growing up in Israel’s rural periphery in the 1970s and 1980s. The stories present the disturbing underground dimensions of adolescence, and the dangers and traumas that subvert the superficial tranquility of youth in the countryside. While these Israeli childhood stories take place in the shadow of war and...

Trumpet Lessons

Now he’s cold and he doesn’t believe it and he’s crying. Later there would be long mornings of playing in the sandbox and a pretty horrible memory that had something to do with a neighbor’s dog that had come off its leash, then a huge collection of matchboxes, one would even come from Japan, and years of trumpet lessons and a gymnastics class as well and the time everybody laughed at him because he fell off the rings and a long walk to the municipal library twice...

Hebrew

Yiddish

Interviews Etgar Keret on Tradition, Translation, and Alien Toasters

Adam Rovner interviews Etgar Keret as part of WWB's month-long discussion of Etgar Keret's Girl on the Fridge. You can find links to other posts and essays in this series at the bottom of the page, and feel free to join in the discussion in the blogs, all this month.—Editors Adam Rovner: Readers seem to be drawn to Israeli literature because of their interest in the political conflicts of the Middle East. Yet your work is only obliquely political, and you yourself...

On Etgar Keret

Phillip Lopate's essay was included in the accompanying booklet to WWB's March 5th event at the Idlewild bookstore in New York City. It is also part of our ongoing discussion of Etgar Keret's Girl on the Fridge, all this March, moderated by Adam Rovner.—Editors Like any magician worth his salt, Etgar Keret starts with mundane objects and familiar scenarios, then transforms them into utterly unpredictable shapes. Sometimes the magic is white, sometimes black: if the...

The Necessity of Choosing

Miriam Shlesinger's essay was included in the accompanying booklet to WWB's March 5th event at the Idlewild bookstore in New York City. It is also part of our month-long discussion of Etgar Keret's Girl on the Fridge. You can find links to other essays in this series at the bottom of the page.—Editors From the point of view of the translator at any moment of his work, translating is a decision process—a series of consecutive situations—moves, as in a...

This Animated Life: An Interview with David Polonsky

An interview with David Polonsky, the artist behind the Oscar-nominated film and graphic novel Waltz with Bashir. A few simple descriptions would suffice to understand just how rich and strange an artwork Waltz with Bashir truly is: an animated documentary film. A war movie that is primarily about the machinations of memory. A historical narrative that feels painfully relevant. Now, after winning the Golden Globe for best foreign film and receiving an Academy Award nomination in the...

from “Seven Moral Failings”

Now was the time to ask for a recommendation from David. In fact, he had already intended to raise the subject at their morning meeting, but then that student had appeared, whose name, he discovered, he had forgotten again, and the whole matter had dissolved. He really had to find supplementary sources of income, now that he'd retired. He couldn't depend only on his pension. That was especially true in New York, where the cost of living had become intolerable. Fisher planned to...

Who Is an Israeli Writer?

Who is an Israeli writer? Israel's dominant language is Hebrew. Its twentieth-century renovation was central to the Zionist project, it is the language of the common culture, and the equation of Israeli=Hebrew is everywhere evident. But for some twenty percent of the country's citizens, their first language is Arabic. Another twenty percent arrived relatively recently from the former Soviet Union. So for a very big part of the population, languages other than Hebrew are preferred...

Cinderella

Herzl Haliwa lets out a scream and jerks his head from the pillow in alarm. He comes to his senses very quickly—this had happened before—and lies still, gently inhaling and exhaling. Trying to quiet his thumping heart, he lets the body lying beside him twist a bit and return to the deep sleep of early morning. After making sure that the person—Anna von Something, he couldn't remember at the moment—has drifted back into slumber, he slowly rises from the bed. He...

Elves

Who would of thought that the Katyusha1 would catch me outside? Six years I don't go out. I walk without thinking, house-market-work-house-clinic-work-house-market-house-work. Comes the Katyusha and catches Simona off her path. I put the food on the table for them, the Tuesday couscous with chicken with pumpkin with hummus beans with everything inside. I stand with the Katyushas falling on my head, and what does my head have in it? If they ate the couscous before when the first one...

My Fallow Years

When I grow old, in however many three-month intervals, I'll gain more and more disabilities, cognitive and otherwise. I'll always be on edge and I'll always be thinking that it's late, too late, everything's now behind me. When I grow old, over and over again I won't be able to remember what I'd been told only a minute ago. Dazed, I'll stop in the middle of the street and ask myself where it was that I was going. At home I won't know why I'd...

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