Right to Left: Party of five

Esther Streit-Wurzel brings the disengagement from Gaza back into the spotlight in her new book Orange Summer.

orange summer book 88 248 (photo credit: Courtesy)
orange summer book 88 248
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Bishvila Giborim Afim (When Heroes Fly) By Amir Gutfreund Kinneret, Zmora-Bitan, Dvir 667 pages; NIS 98 Amir Gutfreund's novel When Heroes Fly is set in a working-class Haifa neighborhood. There are a number of plot lines running through the book that are based on this setting. On the one hand, it is the story of five friends growing up in the 1960s. A closer look shows that it is also a story of the state and the years between the Six Day War and former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination. And it is the story of Israel's maturity. Gutfreund writes about unforgettable moments in this country's history and also brings to light memories likely forgotten. When Heroes Fly is Gutfreund's fourth novel. The prize-winning author was born in Haifa to Holocaust survivors. He has a master's degree in applied mathematics and operations research from the Technion and serves as a lieutenant-colonel in the air force. Since the publishing of his debut novel Our Holocaust, Gutfreund has been called one of the most interesting and important faces on the local literature landscape. Kayitz Katom (Orange Summer) By Esther Streit-Wurzel Amichai 280 pages; NIS 74 Esther Streit-Wurzel brings the disengagement from Gaza back into the spotlight in her new book Orange Summer. This novel is told from the perspective of Tamar, a young woman who was jailed for blocking an intersection during a protest against disengagement. When Streit-Wurzel first set out to write this book, her friends and family voiced disapproval over the idea. However, the author of nearly two dozen books says that she was so obsessed with the event that she had to write about it. As she is known to do, Streit-Wurzel details the time and place as well as the historical significance of the Gaza pullout in 2005. She writes at the beginning of the book that she hopes this work will help bring about understanding and unity between those who were for the disengagement and those who were against it. Aish Babayit (Home Fires Blazing) By Iris Leal Zmora Bitan 316 pages; NIS 88 On the surface, Iris Leal's fourth novel, Home Fires Blazing, tells a romantic story of two couples, Liza and Eddy and Arkadi and Ania. The four decide to spend a weekend together in Liza and Eddy's new home. The real story here is about suppressed feelings and how, when they boil over, they affect each of the characters. Among the emotions bubbling among these friends are old feelings of anger, desires for revenge, jealousy and thoughts of humiliation. Leal's characters fit into the mold of the Bohemian-bourgeois Israeli. The people in this book do not really care for one another. Leal depicts society as a materialistic one, in which everyone tries to survive and get ahead regardless of who gets stepped on along the way. In addition to her realistic story, Leal's literary prose - filled with double entendres and proverbs - is also a key part of this novel. Leal was born in Kibbutz Ashdot Ya'acov in 1959 and grew up in her grandparents' haredi home. She studied social work and cinema, before turning to teaching and writing. She has won a number of awards including the Prime Minister's Prize, the Bernstein Prize for Literary Criticism and the Sapir Prize. Haben Hatov (Goldenland) By Shai Golden Zmora-Bitan 348 pages; NIS 88 At 36, author/journalist Shai Golden decided to write his autobiography. His life is nothing extraordinary and at the same time very extraordinary. This is a narrative of the journey he and his brother make from an orphanage to an adoptive family. Golden invites readers into his private space and introduces to them his conflicting thoughts about who he is. The reader is told how he and his brother were abandoned by their birth mother when they were babies, how they grew up in an orphanage until they were six and seven years old respectively, and how one day two strangers - who would ultimately become "mom" and "dad" - came along and took them home. For the Goldens, the adoption was kept as a family secret. Golden's book is a personal story, but like autobiographies should be, it is a story that readers can identify with. In his previous works, Golden has included his past. Here, his past is the focus. This is an honest account filled with pain, love, happiness, cynicism and humor.