Hebrew Book Week is just around the corner and among the books being hyped for the event is Amos Oz's latest work, Haruzei Hahaim Vehamavet.
By VIVA SARAH PRESSHaruzei Hahaim Vehamavet
(Rhyming Life and Death)
By Amos Oz
Hebrew Book Week is just around the corner and among the books being hyped for the event is Amos Oz's latest work, Haruzei Hahaim Vehamavet. This thin paperback tells the story of a writer. The entire plot takes place on one muggy night in Tel Aviv in the mid-1980s. The unnamed main character meets a whole slew of people and decides to find out their stories. For him, every person he meets is a potential new story.
As in his previous works, in this novel Oz examines human nature. His mysterious novelist blurs the lines between what really happens and what could happen. One person's story leads into another. And the protagonist is somehow a part of all the stories. But Oz's book is not just about this mystifying novelist looking for anecdotes. This untroubled plot line serves as the casing of what the book is really about: It tells of the writing process and what it means to be a writer.
Oz opens the book with (trivial) questions about writing - likely questions he has been asked over the years by fans and critics. Why write? Do you write to influence your readers? What exactly did you intend to say in your novel? Employing irony and compassion, he exposes the behind the scenes life of the novelist. Over the course of 102 pages, he offers the reader an understanding of the craft for which he has become so renowned.
By Gabriela Avigur-Rotem
Kinneret, Zmora-Bitan, Dvir
Gabriela Avigur-Rotem's newest romance, Adom Atik, is likely to receive heavy promotion at the upcoming book fair as well. After all, this critically acclaimed Argentinean-born writer is known for reaping prizes with each new creative release. Avigur-Rotem has twice won the Prime Minister's Prize for Literature (in 1992 and 2001) and has received the President's Prize (2002).
Her latest work is a story about complex relationships between people, the period in which they live and the place in which they live. These are interactions between parents and their children, between women and men and, mainly, between women and women.
Adom Atik is also the story of historical figures from the time of the First Aliya and the defining moments of their lives. Avigur-Rotem mixes factual details about their lives with fictional anecdotes. The plot concurrently follows the lives of modern-day characters Ra'anana, a young clothing designer, and Bari, an architect, and the stories of Nili heroine Sarah Aharonson, and the poet Rahel, among many others. Avigur-Rotem questions the past's influence on the present and future generations. Her writing encompasses a variety of styles from old-school proper Hebrew to up-to-the-minute slang and short forms.
Adom Atik is categorized as a romantic novel, but this book is also a great artistic creation that challenges readers minds and might also break their hearts.
By Moshe Bar-Yuda
Another book to receive accolades in the Hebrew media of late is Moshe Bar-Yuda's debut collection of short stories, Tzel Over. The author, who was born in 1934 in Bratislava and was smuggled to Palestine in 1943, bases these 10 tales and one novella on his life story.
He speaks about himself in third person during the time of World War II, and tells how with false identity papers he was able to escape the Nazi regime. This book tells the stories of a nine-year-old boy who finds himself in a strange land, in the arms of his aunt and uncle, and the events that change and mold his life. These stories tell of an inquisitive boy who learns about life while walking the streets of Tel Aviv. Throughout boyhood, adolescence and adulthood, he is constantly questioning where he belongs.
And though Bar-Yuda writes in third person to separate his protagonist from himself, his main character seems to possess an older man's wisdom.
Bar-Yuda, who worked as a journalist, employs a rich writing style. The father of three says he wrote these stories after one of his sons requested that he write down his memories. In publishing this book, he satisfied his son's appeal but also opened his captivating autobiography to the public.
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