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.