In a land where borders are provisional, contested, and fiercely policed, language to some exent flows around the barriers. Thus is Hebrew used by writers both Jewish and Arab, Sephardic and Ashkenazi, hawk and dove. A diverse group of writers here put their common language of Hebrew to individual use, in iconoclastic stories replete with ironic reversals. In portraits of contemporary life during wartime, Yitzhak Laor reports an idiot's accidental heroism; Sara Shilo's exhausted widowed mother prays for the blessed relief of a rocket; and Guy Morad's graphic tale reveals the vulnerability of a lethal infiltrator. On the domestic front, Hanoch Levin charts a romance that is both everything and nothing, and Orly Castel-Bloom's sly narrator embraces senility as an excuse for bad behavior. Ida Fink maps a Holocaust survivor's journey of mistaken identity. And Sayed Kashua updates "Cinderella" to suggest one way of surviving a schizophrenic culture. We thank our guest editor, Riva Hocherman, for her heroic efforts in compiling this singular collection, and for her illuminating introduction to this complex literary culture.

Photo courtesy Yishay Garbasz. © 2006 by Yishay Garbasz. All rights reserved.

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