Right to Left

This first novel by Boris Zaidman about the experiences of a young Tel Avivian born in Ukraine continues to wow critics and readers.

March 22, 2007 10:21
3 minute read.
zaidman book 88 298

zaidman book 88 298. (photo credit: )


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Tzafon Parua (Wild North) By Shimon Riklin Xargol/Am Oved 284 pages Wars in Lebanon seem to be a hot topic in Israeli literature. Following Ron Leshem's best-seller Im Yesh Gan Eden, which won over the box office in its film version Beaufort, comes Shimon Riklin's Tzafon Parua. The Jerusalem-born Riklin's novel tells the story of Lt.-Col. Ichele, who sets Lebanon on fire in a journey of vengeance. It is in the wild north of the first Lebanon War that Private Jacob Zilberstein (who Ichele recruits to serve as his clerk) and the protagonist himself achieve heroic status. Also portrayed are a slew of formulaic Israeli characters, including a religious soldier whose son has turned secular, the son of a Holocaust survivor and the "man's man" of soldiers. Riklin's story interweaves realism with humor and Mediterranean fantasy. Tzafon Parua is Riklin's second novel for adults, following The Sound of Pain. He has also written radio plays, film and TV scripts, plays and children books. Hemingway Vegeshem Hatziporim Hametot (Hemingway and the Dead-Bird Rain) By Boris Zaidman Am Oved 221 pages Another novel making headlines is Hemingway Vegeshem Hatziporim Hametot. This first novel by Boris Zaidman about the experiences of a young Tel Avivian born in Ukraine continues to wow critics and readers. The book recently won the Acum prize (Society of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers in Israel) for best debut novel. Zaidman writes about the double identity Russian immigrants experience. The novel is told from the young Tal/Tulik's perspective. On the one hand Tal is as Israeli as any sabra. On the other hand, Tulik (his name prior to aliya) lives in constant fear that the Germans are coming to take him away like they did his grandfather. The novel is about two worlds that will never meet and the people who somehow live concurrently in both of them. Zaidman himself made aliya as a 13-year-old boy from the former Soviet Union. His story has been described as smart, piquant and eye-opening. Roman Amerika'i (An American Novel) By Yehonatan Geffen Kinneret, Zmora-Bitan, Dvir 271 pages Yehonatan Geffen's latest novel also deals with the theme of two worlds. Yaki Mitelman, an artist and the son of Holocaust survivors, is the protagonist of renowned writer/poet Geffen's Roman Amerika'i. He's a super-talented father of two who has a mid-life crisis, leaves his family and moves to America to create a new life. There, he changes his name to Jack Mitel, marries a tall blonde woman, and adapts a healthy lifestyle. However, always stirring under his new life is the old Yaki Mitelman and all the habits Jack Mitel hoped to drown out. Geffen's book came about after numerous visits to the Big Apple. The author decided to create a novel out of the many conversations he had with random people in bars throughout New York. Yaki/Jack introduces readers to the modern hell of Israeli business folk/artists in the "land of opportunity." Geffen's words are sarcastic and biting. The romantic story is fictional, but one that gives rise to empathy. Misdar Cosima (The Cosima Order) By Avi Goldberg Miskal-Yedioth Ahronoth Books and Chemed Books 239 pages Another new novel to hit the bookshelves is Avi Goldberg's contemporary suspense narrative, Misdar Cosima. The story spotlights an American banker who is asked to trace mysterious bank accounts in Switzerland, among them Jewish bank accounts. In his attempts at disclosing the owners of one of the accounts, he is led to Paris where he hears about a poor Israeli student who has been researching the classified details of German composer Richard Wagner's life. The trail then leads the banker to the student's family in Haifa where an old relative discloses him to the Cosima Order, a militaristic order named for Wagner's beautiful wife. The details the banker uncovers only confuse matters even more. What follows is a tale about history, music, sex, world culture, Israeliness, Swiss banking systems and, of course, love. Nietzsche, Wagner, neo-Nazis, and even the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) all play roles. Goldberg trained as a lawyer, but quit the legal world in 1998 and moved to Paris to fulfill a dream of living in the "city of light." He says this suspense novel is wholly fictional, though based on real events. This is Goldberg's first novel.

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