Some months ago, I was granted access to a digital galley of Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel. As soon as I heard that the book had won the inaugural Natan Book Award (the committee for which included my idol Jeffrey Goldberg), the book went straight to the top of my TBR list. I knew that it was going to be pretty impressive.
And it was. But I didn’t feel sufficiently qualified to write about it. So I didn’t seek a reviewing assignment before the book’s official release this month.
But I am continuing to be impressed–and educated–as I listen to Shavit’s radio interviews and read reviews of the book. Continue reading ›
I’ve only read smatterings of the work of Amos Oz, a weakness that I hope to rectify asap. I’m motivated by my recent reading of Between Friends, a story collection (translated by Sondra Silverston) that will certainly rank among the very best books that I’ve read this year.
The book comprises eight linked stories featuring characters who live on the same (fictional) kibbutz circa the 1950s. I borrowed the book from the library, but I may have to buy a copy of my own. In the meantime, eager to at least sample as much of Oz’s oeuvre as I can, I’ve ordered The Amos Oz Reader (edited by Nitza Ben Dov and tanslated by Nicholas de Lange), and I can’t wait to dive in.
Instead of attempting a full-fledged review, I’ll point you to some perspectives that echo many of mine. To wit: Marie’s take on The Boston Bibliophile and Ranen Omer-Sherman’s Forward review.
If you’re a New Yorker subscriber, you can find the book’s opening story, “The King of Norway,” in the magazine’s archive. Similarly, Harper’s subscribers have access to the second story, “Two Women.” (I’m disappointed that I can’t find the concluding story, “Esperanto,” online; it is, in my view, exceptionally good as a standalone piece as well as a perfect wrap-up for the linked collection.) And available to all: Tablet magazine’s superb interview with Oz, on the occasion of this book’s release.
Have any of you read Between Friends? And do you have any special suggestions as I attempt to consume as much of Oz’s writing as I can?
Back in January, I discovered that that The Feminist Press would be publishing Textile, an English translation of a novel by one of my favorite Israeli authors, Orly Castel-Bloom. The book was slated for release in the spring; I was thrilled to receive an assignment to review it and dug in eagerly to my review copy.
Publication of the book was delayed, so the deadline for my review was, too. Then it wasn’t until August that my editor asked for some revisions. I complied. When a Google alert let me know that the review was published just last week, I discovered that further cuts and other revisions had been made.
I’m always happy to have a byline in this particular publication (not to mention the paycheck). But I can’t deny that I’m disappointed that this piece ended up so very much shorter than (and otherwise different from) the original review that I worked so hard to craft. So I’m using today’s blog post to share that original version with you. I hope that you enjoy it. Continue reading ›
Earlier this year I was lucky enough to participate in a seminar that gave me a better understanding of the history and philosophies (note the plural) behind Zionism. Through the class, I also developed a much deeper appreciation and respect for so many heroes in the story of Zionism, including Chaim Weizmann. And I heard (or read) enough about Dr. Weizmann’s wife, Vera (who was also “Dr. Weizmann” – which is especially impressive when one recalls that Vera was born in Russia in 1881!) to make me want to learn more about her.
So, recently, I picked up a copy of The Impossible Takes Longer: The Memoirs of Vera Weizmann as told to David Tutaev. The book was published by Harper & Row in 1967, shortly after Vera Weizmann’s death.
Frankly, I need (and want) to read it again. It is wonderfully detailed and I want to be sure that I caught everything. For now, though, I thought I’d simply share a few choice morsels from the memoir: Continue reading ›
These days, motivated in part by space constraints (I live in a New York City apartment and I’ve run out of bookshelves), and in part by financial ones, I think very hard before I buy a book. Generally speaking, I depend on libraries for many of the books that I don’t receive as review copies. And when I do buy a book, I’m often inclined to purchase the Kindle version.
All of this a preface of sorts. Because something unusual happened a few days ago. I began reading Rutu Modan’s latest book, The Property. Translated by Jessica Cohen, this graphic novel depicts a grandmother-granddaughter pair on a journey from Israel to the grandmother’s native Poland, ostensibly to investigate the reclamation of the grandmother’s former home. About two minutes into my reading, I knew that this book was something special. And even though I read the entire book in one setting, I knew that I’d want to read it again. Maybe more than once. Maybe even after it was due back in the library. So I’ve gone ahead and purchased a copy of my own: a print copy.
In short, I loved this book. But instead of writing a more complete review/description/analysis of my own, I’m going to point you to some illuminating items that are already available online. (I’ll also note that, to date, several of the five-star Goodreads reviews that I’ve read echo my own impressions.) I hope that these materials will help convince you to spend some time with The Property, too:
Review in Paste magazine (includes several sample pages/panels)
Profile of Modan in Publishers Weekly
Extensive interview with Modan in The Comics Journal (also includes excerpts from the book)
And a briefer, but still noteworthy, interview with Modan in Maisonneuve.
Finally, as a bonus of sorts, you might want to read through Modan’s account of “a week in culture” for The Paris Review (trans. Sivan Ben-Horin).