Against the backdrop of Jerusalem

An anthology of short stories mix together and show an appreciation for the quirky sides of life.

Photo by: REUTERS
Yael Unterman’s first book, Nehama Leibowitz: Teacher and Bible Scholar, a National Jewish Book Awards finalist, was a scholarly work. In her new book The Hidden of Things, Unterman strikes out in a new direction, moving into fiction, though the backdrop for many of her stories is still Jerusalem and Torah learning. She uses her considerable skills as an author and an actor to shine a spotlight on a group of characters who might seem familiar to many of us living in Jewish communities: mostly young, intelligent, educated, Jewishly observant single women and men.

The book, though written as short stories, is meant to be read in order, for the characters and their lives intermingle as they progress and grow. Yael enlivens these characters with rich and provocative dialogue, both thought and spoken, leading us to recognize them as people we have been or, at least, have known, and to resonate to the situations in which they find themselves. She writes with a deep appreciation for the quirky, humorous and absurd sides of life, while at the same time vividly bringing the pathos and wrenching loneliness that are part and parcel of the human condition, as she points out many of the specific difficulties encountered in living without a partner. For example, when Karin, a 30-year-old British woman doing a doctorate in Jerusalem, is dumped by beloved boyfriend Bo, he says to her: “…there’s some lonely thing in you, way beyond where I can reach”: and she immediately thinks to herself: “Super.

Read More..., the online edition of the Jerusalem Post Newspaper - the most read and best-selling English-language newspaper in Israel. For analysis and opinion from Israel, the Jewish World and the Middle East. offers expert and in-depth reporting from Israel, the Jewish World and the Middle East, including diplomacy and defense, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Arab Spring, the Mideast peace process, politics in Israel, life in Jerusalem, Israel's international affairs, Iran and its nuclear program, Syria and the Syrian civil war, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel's world of business and finance, and Jewish life in Israel and the Diaspora.

All rights reserved © The Jerusalem Post 1995 - 2014