efes book 88 298.
(photo credit: )
By Ella Yablonsky
Ella Yablonsky's debut short story collection, Efes Ta'uyot, has garnered great reviews in the Hebrew media since its release late last year. The 38 stories are concise, imaginative, daring and in touch with reality. Like top Israeli short story writer Etgar Keret, Yablonsky chooses her words carefully. While she, too, uses weirdness to relate life's foibles, Yablonsky possesses her own engaging style.
She hooks readers with her opening sentences and keeps them wondering where the stories are headed. From a woman who grows wings when listening to the radio to a boy in a wheelchair who dreams of an out-of-this-world sailing trip, she writes about unusual characters in impossible situations that leave the reader feeling that anything is possible.
When she's not writing, the 34-year-old Yablonsky works as a head nurse in the department of cardiac surgery for children at one of the country's hospitals. Critics have noted that her work as a nurse and the medical miracles she sees apparently influenced the way she has crafted her stories (which include many surprises).
Those who prefer to read in English should pressure Modan Publishing to translate this anthology. There's a reason Yablonsky has been cited as one of the country's new writers to watch.
By Orit Gross
Another new collection of short stories on the bookshelves is Orit Gross's Klipot Shkufot.
The 10 tales focus on everyday life and the constant search for silence, compassion and gentleness. The stories are intimate and reveal under-the-surface family feuds. At times the writing is wry and disturbing, and at other times comforting. Gross's first short-story collection, Stories Behind Your Back, won an Education Ministry prize.
Shana Bli Tziporim
(A Year Without Birds)
By Nissim Levi
Although written before the outbreak of the second Lebanon war, Nissim Levi's debut novel, Shana Bli Tziporim, is still relevant. The book offers a glimpse of the lives of Israeli intelligence agents in south Lebanon in the 1980s. The plot tells of Avinoam, a GSS coordinator who, in the wake of the Tyre catastrophes, is sent to Lebanon to track down Palestinian terrorists involved in planning terror attacks on Israeli targets.
During the course of a year, Avinoam conscripts and deploys agents, flies in helicopters, finds himself in impossible and dangerous situations, disappears from his family and, most importantly, doesn't sleep. Almost immediately, he understands that the Palestinian targets he was sent to locate have long since moved out. In this romance, Levi describes the bonds and relationships Israelis had with the people of south Lebanon - the collaborators, the gangs and the simple townsfolk.
The character of Avinoam is based on Levi himself, who was posted as a Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) coordinator in Lebanon post-Tyre catastrophes. Levi served for 20 years in the security services, spending much of his time in Lebanon and Gaza. In addition to describing the associations with the Lebanese in his novel, Levi also offers a fascinating look at the relationship within his family (he was away from his wife and young son for more than a year), and the intense feelings with his comrades, especially those who were wounded or killed in action.
By Avi Garfinkel
Another romantic novel is Avi Garfinkel's latest work, Emuna Iveret, which is set in Jerusalem. The 33-year-old Garfinkel is a regular contributor and editor for Haaretz and Y-net who is currently pursuing a doctorate in Hebrew literature at Bar-Ilan University. He begins his story with Yoni, a Hebrew University literature student who loses a rare book. Rahel, the haredi woman who finds his book, refuses to meet with him and says she is only prepared to leave it at a public telephone booth in Mea She'arim.
The story compares Yoni's life to Rahel's. He is in search of himself, open to new things and unsure of which direction he'll take in life. She, on the other hand, lives in a world where her future path is already decided. The virtual telephone romance between them carries on throughout the story. Garfinkel connects their unusual relationship to the gap dividing religious and secular as well as to the world of literature. Overall, the storyline is light and the characters are uncomplicated.