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Authors: A.B. Yehoshua

Open Heart

 

The Continuing Silence of a Poet: The Collected Stories of A.B. Yehoshua

“It seems typical of this highly talented Israeli writer that we are left with more questions than answers after reading what he has to tell us and that the most urgent and disturbing questions are always more suggested by his work than stated in it.”

Robert Nye,
The Guardian

“Yehoshua … is very much the
enfant terrible
whose stories evoke the dreadful silence of a people who live on the edge of destruction. Paradoxically, Yehoshua — like his literary
Doppelgänger
Amos Oz — is today a Grand Old Man of Israeli letters.”

Bryan Cheyette,
TLS

“The originality of these stories, their characters, and the emotions they express so precisely and movingly have remained so clearly in my mind that I feel justified in taking risks. I was as moved and impressed by them as when I read Mann’s
Death in Venice
and some of Chekhov.”

Susan Hill,
New Statesman

“Yehoshua makes great art out of seemingly unpromising characters and situations.”

David Aberbach,
The Jewish Quarterly

“…for Yehoshua has found a way of writing inside that no-man’s land where the perception of objective reality and private dream or hallucination jostle for position. Reading his stories you realise that this shifting between real and unreal is not peculiar to his characters. It is actually what goes on in our heads most of the time. I don’t know any writer who has transcribed this phenomenon so economically.”

Victoria Glendinning,
The Sunday Times

“Yehoshua himself emerges through the collection as a writer of borderline states: he describes
near-madness
, near-death, near-sadism. People living under continual threat of war toy with their fantasies until they bring them to life. They succumb to a detachment that verges on cruelty or to a love that verges on masochism. They regard their lives with restrained despair, while secretly longing for tragedy and resolution. Yehoshua explores all this with understated formality and a difficult and moving honesty.”    

Nicci Gerrard,
The Observer

“…a considerable
œuvre
.”

Andrew Sinclair,
The Times

“Even at his most prosaic, Yehoshua’s vision remains dark and menacing but this can be conveyed to
powerful and haunting effect, as in “The Last Commander”, an offering to rank with the greatest of war stories. A welcome and far from silent collection.”

Seamus Finnegan,
The Jewish Chronicle

The Lover

“It is a disturbing, brilliantly assured novel, and almost thirty years after its first appearance it retains a startling originality.”

Natasha Lehrer,
TLS

“In place of the unifying and optimistic passions of Zionism, [A. B. Yehoshua’s] skilful, delicate prose depicts a darker country of insomnia, claustrophobia and disconnectedness, while the clever contrast of perspectives emphasises the vast gulf that can exist between people who supposedly love one another.”

Francesca Segal,
Jewish Chronicle

“In this profound study of personal and political trauma, Yehoshua … evokes Israel’s hallucinatory reality.”

The Daily Telegraph

“There is no scarcity of books about the Yom Kippur War but few have attempted to chart the inner human landscape as painstakingly as
The Lover
.”

Christopher Wordsworth,
The Guardian

“…a more vivid sense of the country than most documentaries would provide.”

Paul Ableman,
The Spectator

“It is greatly to the credit of A.B. Yehoshua, that his major novel,
The Lover
, manages to convey in both breadth and depth the traumas of the Yom Kippur War without in any sense being a war novel.”

Mira Bar-Hillel,
The Jewish Quarterly

“Like Amos Oz, Yehoshua is proposing that the true realities of Israeli life are nighttime ones – dreams, nightmares, wishes and hopes – while the piercing light of day reveals only the mundane surface.”

Murray Baumgarten,
The Jerusalem Post

“…a work of genuine distinction.”

Leon I. Yudkin,
Modern Hebrew Literature


The Lover
is a truly modern novel, filled with irony, ambiguity, inconclusiveness and images of the wasteland. It is an acute criticism of Israel, the Diaspora and contemporary values – it deserves our attention.”

Esther Safer Fisher,
Middle East Focus

A Late Divorce

“… thank goodness for a novel that is ambitious and humane and that is about things that really matter.”

New Statesman

“Anyone who has had experience of the sad and subtle ways in which human beings torment one another under licence of family ties will appreciate the merits of A.B. Yehoshua’s
A Late Divorce
.”

London Review of Books

Five Seasons

“Molkho’s adventures are quietly hilarious in the way Kafka is hilarious.”

The New York Times Book Review

“The novel succeeds in charting the ways in which grief and passions cannot be cheated…”

Financial Times

“A wonderfully engaging, exquisitely controlled, luminous work.”

Washington Post Book World

“In this finely observed and oddly moving comic novel…Yehoshua makes us feel [Molkho’s] humanity – and deftly wins him our sympathy.”

Kirkus

“…a gentle comedy of manners about a widower in want of a wife.”

Clive Sinclair,
The Sunday Times

“…[a] sad, emotionally convincing comedy.”

Robert Alter,
The New Republic

“This novel is all that a novel ought to be: comic, sad, human, and above all, with the ring of truth.”

The Minneapolis Star Tribune

“…Yehoshua fashions a totally absorbing work of art. So subtle is his skill that even scenes of brilliantly realized comedy are executed with such dry understatement that they catch the reader totally unaware.”

The Jerusalem Post

“In the opinion of one grateful reader, he has written a masterpiece.”

Aram Saroyan,
Los Angeles Times

“Yehoshua’s poetic images conjure up bursts of dense Oscar Kokoshka color, the savage comedy of George Grosz’s caricatures, the playful humor of Paul Klee and even the stately gravity of the black-and-white illustrations of biblical legends. And all this is held together by the author’s murmuring irony and wisdom, which makes us hope that maybe, sometime, Molkho will fall in love after all.”

The Toronto Globe and Mail

“… a meditation on the cycles of change and renewal, and a portrait of a middle-aged man, glimpsed at a transition point in his life.”

Michiko Kakutani,
The New York Times

“…a fiction that matters.”

Sanford Pinsker,
The Philadelphia Inquirer

Mr. Mani


Mr Mani
is conceived on an epic scale as a hymn to the continuity of Jewish life. This formulation sounds pat and sentimental, but Yehoshua’s achievement is the opposite: it always suggests even more complex worlds beyond the vignettes of which the novel is composed.”

Stephen Brook,
New Statesman and Society
 

“Suffused with sensuous receptiveness to Jerusalem – its coppery light, its pungent smells, its babble of tongues, its vistas crumbling with history – Yehoshua’s minutely researched novel ramifies out from the city to record the rich and wretched elements that have gone into the founding and continuation of the nation whose centre it has once again become.”

Peter Kemp,
The Sunday Times

“Adjectives come racing to mind to describe
Mr Mani
, for instance ‘rich, complex, exotic, creative, informative’, but ‘easy’ is one that does not fit. On finishing it, this reader had the reaction that he had to turn back to the beginning in order to grasp more firmly the sources of his admiration…It is extraordinarily skilful to have captured the Jewish mixture of suffering and revival, despair and messianic hope, without in any way spelling out such heavy themes.”

David Pryce-Jones,
The Financial Times
 

“A.B. Yehoshua has created a historical and psychological universe – nearly biblical in the range and penetration of its enchanting ‘begats’ – with an amazingly real Jerusalem at its centre. It is as if the blood-pulse of this ingeniously inventive novel had somehow fused with the hurtling vision of the generations of Genesis. With
Mr. Mani
, Yehoshua once again confirms his sovereign artistry; and Hillel Halkin’s translation has a brilliant and spooky life of its own.”

Cynthia Ozick

“The one-sided dialogues not only give this complex novel a much needed simplicity of form but they also engage us. We begin to fill in the missing words until each of us becomes the silent partner. For this is more than just a tale of one eccentric family; it has the relentlessness of the Old Testament, the contentiousness of Job. The Manis not only pass down their sense of guilt, the source of their quixotic
and often tragic fate, they ask in each generation what it means to be a Jew: are we not all from the same seed, are we not all ‘Jews forgetful of being Jews’?”

Wendy Brandmark,
The Independent

“In Yehoshua’s rich, grave fictions, private and public lives cannot be separated; the tale of a flawed individual or disintegrating relationship is simultaneously an emblem for a country in crisis. Literature is history, an event a symbol, writing a way of exploring the world. Yehoshua is a marvellous story teller but also a profoundly political writer, always arguing for uncertain humanism rather than zealous nationalism in a country where everyone lives on the front line.”

Nicci Gerrard,
The Observer

“…Yehoshua has here produced his own version of an epic chronicle, a homecoming in which the present is fulfilled in the past, the seed implicit in the future growth. The novel has something of the quality of a modern prophecy, of the still small voice in the wilderness.”

John Bayley,
The New York Review of Books


Mr. Mani
is one of the most remarkable pieces of fiction I have ever read, and convinces me more than ever of Yehoshua’s very great gift”.

Alfred Kazin


Mr. Mani
, lucidly translated by Hillel Halkin, is Mr. Yehoshua’s most ambitious, wide-ranging novel. It is a literary tour de force that broadens the author’s vision and the novel’s boundaries beyond Israel.”

Herbert Mitgang,
The New York Times

Open Heart

“To read A.B. Yehoshua is to submit oneself to the turmoils of the human heart. His are the type of books…I hesitate to start, because I find it impossible to put them down.”

Ilan Stavans
, TLS

“The novel flows powerfully in fluent, confident yet simple prose: it has a compelling story line and vividly drawn characters, and it is infused with a big and serious theme, the nature of love and the mysteries of the human soul.”

The Washington Post

“At times literary and mannered, at times incantatory and magical, sometimes disturbing and often astonishing,
Open Heart
never fails to entertain the mind while it captivates the soul.”

The Seattle Times

A Journey to the End of the Millennium

“Wherever this innovative, erudite, suggestive, mysterious writer—a true master of contemporary fiction—points us, there can be no doubt, it is essential that we go.”

The Washington Post

“Yehoshua is so graceful and eloquent that his work’s timeliness also succeeds, paradoxically, in making it timeless.”

James E Young,
New York Times

“This is a generous, sensuous narrative, in which women adroitly manoeuvre within their inherited role, and theories of irrevocable Arab-Jewish hatred are obliquely refuted.”

Peter Vansittart,
The Spectator

“One of Yehoshua’s most fully realized works: a masterpiece.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Above all, Yehoshua is a master storyteller, who coaxes his readers far into an alien landscape, allowing him to question familiar orthodoxies—that moral codes are universal, that jealousy governs every personal relationship, and that religious boundaries are set in stone.”

Jewish Chronicle

The Liberated Bride

“The Liberated Bride
seethes with emotions, dreams, ideas, humor, pathos, all against a backdrop of violence, conflict, and terror.”

Robert Rosenberg,
The Sun
(New York)

“Yehoshua seeks to present two worlds, those of Israel’s Jewish majority and its Arab minority. He has done it rather as Tolstoy wrote of war and peace: two novels, in a sense, yet intimately joined. Paradoxically – and paradox…is the book’s engendering force – the war is mainly reflected in the zestfully intricate quarrels in the Jewish part of the novel. The peace largely flowers when Rivlin finds himself breaking through the looking glass into the Arab story.”

Richard Eder,
The New York Times

“The Liberated Bride
is tinged with the kind of innate, unavoidable suspense that the threat of bus bombs brings.”

International Herald Tribune

“The boundaries that are broken down in
The Liberated Bride
include those within the self and others; mystical boundaries between self and God; political and cultural boundaries and finally, the stylistic boundaries of the novel itself, which Yehoshua is constantly stretching in different directions.”

International Jerusalem Post

A Woman in Jerusalem

“This novel has about it the force and deceptive simplicity of a masterpiece…”

Claire Messud,
The New York Times

“There are human riches here. The manager moves from a man who has given up on love to one who opens himself to it. And there are strange and powerful scenes – of the morgue, of the coffin, of the Soviet base where the manager passes through the purging of body and soul.”

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