Novel by Meir Shalev translated into Belarusian for the first time

Meir Shalev

"The Blue Mountain" (published in Hebrew under the title "A Russian Novel" in 1988) is a novel by the late Meir Shalev, one of Israel's foremost writers.  Set in a small rural village in the Jezreel Valley prior to the creation of the State of Israel,  the book focuses on four idealistic early settlers of the modern state of Israel.

Meir Shalev was an Israeli writer, journalist, playwright and publicist who wrote novels about the Land of Israel, children's books, and a weekly column for the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper. His books have been a great success among readers,  and he is one of the most widely read Israeli authors. On May 23, 2023, approximately a month after Shalev’s death, the book was published in Belarusian. 

The idea was born from the idea of presenting Israeli literature to Belarusian readers. Hebrew literature has rarely been translated into this language.  Israeli Ambassador to Belarus, Zvi Mirkin says, "From the beginning, I thought about Meir Shalev - primarily because of my love for this writer, and when I met translator Pavel Kostyukevich, who had previously translated Etgar Keret into Belarusian, he said that his dream was to translate a "Russian novel." At that point, any further doubts about choosing a book were removed. As for the embassy's involvement, we found a publisher interested in the project (five years ago, the same publisher published Etgar Keret in Belarusian), and we also partially subsidized the project." 

In preparation for the book's arrival in bookstores, a book trailer was filmed, in which a Nativ representative in Minsk read excerpts from the book in Hebrew while Mirkin read passages in Belarusian. A number of events are currently planned (some online) aimed at exposing Belarusian-speaking audiences to Israeli culture. In addition, the possibility of translating more modern Israeli works into Belarusian is being investigated.

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