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By Noa Yaron-Dayan
Mekimi has received a lot of Hebrew media attention. One of the main reasons perhaps is that its author, Noa Yaron-Dayan, was once a popular and successful local media star. In her debut novel, she uses her life story as the base for this fictional account of a sharp-tongued, hip television presenter who finds herself being attracted to the religious way of life. The protagonist, Alma, disconnects from her party life, from Tel Aviv, from the media world and even from her family. The transition to her new life is not a smooth one - she examines her doubts and weighs her choices every single day.
The story of Alma is of course the story of Yaron-Dayan. Today a haredi mother of six, Yaron-Dayan was a popular Army Radio broadcaster and television presenter before becoming religious. She grew up in a secular family. The book is written in a personal tone. On her Web site, Yaron-Dayan writes that she wrote Mekimi to explain to others the inner peace one can find by returning to religion. Her voice, heard through Alma, is wild, funny and suspicious.
Avor et Ha'alpim, Avshalom
By Erez Schweitzer
Erez Schweitzer's romance Avor et Ha'alpim, Avshalom tells the story of a man in search of his inner self. The story begins with a lonely man who comes to the conclusion that he must either bring a child into the world or become a drug addict. An unexpected inheritance catapults him on a physical and spiritual journey that offers him the opportunity to divert from his life's set path. Moreover, he meets an outspoken woman, and together they forge a new way neither of them can control.
Schweitzer's novel examines the gentle relationship between the two characters. He deals with matters of intimacy, ideals, and actions. Above all, he raises the question of how much a man can mold his personality and control his life.
Or Hatof Shel Cardiff
By Danny Sanderson
Kinneret, Zmora-Bitan, Dvir
The multi-faceted Danny Sanderson, famous for his musical forays, recently published a book of short stories called Cardiff and Other Stories. These 27 tales stretch from El Paso to Tel Aviv, Sinai to the Carmel, from the 1950s to yesterday morning. Many of his stories are very short. They are humorous, biting, cynical, and at times even read like blog posts. Ynet dubbed Sanderson a cross between Woody Allen and Seinfeld for his style and approach.
Sanderson tells of personal experiences, including about his musical days with Kaveret. He offers flashes of nostalgia and bittersweet Israeli moments. Like the man on the cover peeking through a curtain to see what is behind it, readers will find it difficult to enjoy each page of writing for what it is and not read quickly so as to know faster what's on the next page. This is an entertaining page-turner that's easy to read.
By Rina Frank Mitrani
Miskal, Yedioth Ahronot Books and Chemed Books
Following her hugely successful debut Every House Needs a Balcony (Kol Bayit Tzarich Mirpeset), Rina Frank Mitrani returns with Haim Shvirim. The story follows the lives of four real-life characters.
Ben-Avner is a former detective; Daniel, an ex-con; Revital, a cosmetics consultant; and Yaki, Revital's special 16-year-old son who dreams of becoming an actor. Frank Mitrani weaves their stories together and shows a slice of Israeli reality. She trains the spotlight on the regular folk, those who were born with a "rusted spoon in their mouths." And while their stories are not easy and their lives often seem like an uphill battle, it is difficult not to feel through Frank Mitrani's descriptions the warmth surrounding her characters. The stories of Ben-Avner, Daniel, Revital and Yaki form a prÃ©cis of "Israeliness."