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Death of a Holy Land: Reflections in Contemporary Israeli Fiction [Kindle Edition]

Rose L. Levinson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Death of a Holy Land: Reflections in Contemporary Israeli Fiction, by Rose Levinson, uses the work of four contemporary Israeli authors as a lens into present-day Israel. Discussing the novels of Orly Castel-Bloom, Michal Govrin, Zeruya Shalev, and Yoram Kaniuk, the book argues for a new understanding of today’s Israel. Crucial to renewed awareness is a view of the country that jettisons the notion of Israel as an exceptional, sacred state immune from 21st century discontents. Attention is focused on ways in which many of Israel’s most pressing problems are linked to long-standing issues of Jewish identity. Continual reference to the novels gives weight and substance to Death of a Holy Land’s underlying insistence on the need for a critical view of Israel as a country deeply ill-at-ease with itself.

Editorial Reviews


This book contributes to English-language discussion of Hebrew literature through its clear presentation of plot summaries and its discerning attention to thematic elements of individual novels. Far too little commentary on Israeli fiction exists in English. Levinson usefully details Kaniuk’s condemnations of militarism and Castel-Bloom’s satirical depictions of nationalism run amok. (H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online)

Death of a Holy Land offers remarkably original and nothing short of a pioneering view of contemporary Israeli fiction ...this part of the book will most definitely make a significant contribution to the literature on the subject of contemporary Jewish prose. The variety of issues and originality of the approach are very refreshing with a great deal of attention to detail and arguments logical and convincing. (Nyusya Milman-Miller, Virginia Tech)

Rose Levinson's deeply engaged study of four Israeli writers reveals how these important artists explore some of the deepest conflicts within their society: the memory of the Holocaust, the absurdity of governmental institutions, the challenge of Judaism for secular Israelis and the
dilemmas of domestic life. While each of these authors deals with her or his private demons, Levinson perceptively demonstrates how the broader social context gives their work public meaning. This is a book for anyone acutely concerned about the future of the Jewish state.
(David Biale, University of California, Davis)

Rose Levinson's Death of a Holy Land is a fine book. Through sensitive, admirably clear and well written readings of Israeli fiction, Levinson reveals a strand of deep disenchantment with the secular, leftist Zionist project on the part of four of its leading inheritors. Reveals a side of Israeli culture that is most frequently hidden from the general public outside of Israel. (Daniel Boyarin, Univ of California at Berkeley)

From the Author

For myself, as for many in my generation, Israel was a holy land. It promised sanctuary for Jews,  an exceptional place that would be a model unto the nations. But that is not how things have turned out. Israel is a troubled nation-state, grappling with problems both internal and external. Many of its institutions, civic and religious,  cause great pain to its citizens. My book, Death of a Holy Land, reflects upon my struggle to understand what Israel is truly like. The work of four Israeli novelists enables me to look critically at a country I once held sacred. In my journey to understand, these artists and residents show me the way. It's a way now strewn with seemingly insurmountable, but all too human, difficulties.

Product Details

  • File Size: 366 KB
  • Print Length: 137 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0739177729
  • Publisher: Lexington Books (May 31, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00D56ZSQC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,870,016 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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5.0 out of 5 stars Death of a Holy land February 5, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Death of a Holy Land is a fascinating analysis of modern Israel through the lens of four contemporary Israeli writers. Through her discussion of these writers, Levinson explores the dilemmas and complexities of present day Israel and what it means for Jewish identity. The book is engaging, perceptive and thought-provoking as well clearly written and persuasively argued. I highly recommend it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Review of Death of a Holy Land February 2, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Rose Levinson’s Death of a Holy Land is masterful analysis of four authors who grapple with the conflict between the glorified idea of the Holy Land and its actual reality. The works that these authors write are real and raw and Dr. Levinson’s analysis leaves no stone unturned. She examines the entirety of every artist’s struggle with the supposed holiness of the land and the turmoil that the artist’s feel in the land and in relationship to what is supposed to be this holy land. The pieces and analysis are both exciting and thought provoking. It is a beautifully written, smooth analysis that is grabbing and smart. It is a must read.
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