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Israel: A Traveler's Literary Companion (Traveler's Literary Companions) Paperback – March 1, 1996


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Israel: A Traveler's Literary Companion (Traveler's Literary Companions) + Apples from the Desert: Selected Stories (The Helen Rose Scheuer Jewish Women's Series)
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Product Details

  • Series: Traveler's Literary Companions (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Whereabouts Press (March 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1883513030
  • ISBN-13: 978-1883513030
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,259,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Through fiction and a smidgen of fact, Gluzman, a professor of poetry and comparative literature at Tel Aviv University, and Seidman, who teaches Hebrew literature at the Center for Jewish Studies, Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif., purport to present works that "will enlighten a traveler to the soul of" Israel. The latest in a series for readers planning trips (two more are also due out in 1997), this collection includes, but is not limited to, pieces about villagers burning a neighbor's house; a soldier kicking an Arab in the face before the other can shoot him; and a religious Jew molesting a secular Jew. The stories themselves are strong, eloquent and penned by the very best Israeli writers (among them David Grossman, Shulamith Hareven, A.B. Yehoshua). But the only one not guaranteed to sadden is an exquisite piece by Ofra Rizenfeld on the innocent Adam and Eve romping in the Garden of Eden. And we all know what happens to them. "Where does it get you, this state you made?" a religious Jew asks Amos Oz in one of two pieces or reportage. "Murderers, prostitutes, robbers, perverts, blasphemers, emptiness and impudence." Kind of makes you want to stay home.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This is the fourth in a series of collected short fiction depicting contemporary life in a locale popular with tourists (previous volumes are on Costa Rica, Prague, and Vietnam). The editors, travelers and journalists, have selected 16 recent essays grouped under the headings Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Eilat, kibbutz, land, borders, and pilgrimage, all written in Hebrew and translated into English. The authors are mostly Israeli, e.g., Amos Oz ("Thank God for His Daily Blessings," about Jerusalem); David Grossman ("Barta'a," which focuses on the West Bank border), and Ofra Rizenfeld ("What's There and What Isn't," concerning kibbutzim). The pieces reveal a cross section of people in situations tender, sad, angry, and funny. Collectively, the pieces present a view of Israeli life seldom encountered by tourists or other outsiders, as well as suggesting the rich state of creative writing in the country today. A good foreword and preface place the essays in context for the reader. This reasonably priced series offers opportunities for public libraries to add depth to their travel collections.?Harold M. Otness, Southern Oregon State Coll. Lib., Ashland
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Larry R on November 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
[Spoiler Alert] The back cover of this book included a capsule review "The idea.. is simple: Explore a place ... through the writings of that country's best writers". The idea may be simple, and it may be a good one. But sadly, this book falls short of what the idea has to offer. In anticipation of a possible upcoming trip to Israel, I picked up this book with the hope that it would provide me with a 'feel' for the place and its people. Unfortunately, the stories in the book seemed both pretentious and uninteresting. We're treated to a Casper-Milquetoast-ish woman who travels to meet her sister... and that's pretty much it. A 20-something platonic couple lamenting about being all washed up as they approach 30. A gay romance struck down when the protagonist accuses his paramour of theft. A group of co-workers forced together by circumstances, eventually winding up in a drunken menage a trois. While the stories were competently written, none of them seemed particularly interesting... and any of them could easily have been set in an American or European city, with no real change except for the scenery. In short, the book fell far short of providing any insight into Israel, or Israelis. When I was done, my reaction was 'I sure hope the country and its people are more interesting than the ones in these stories'. As the original works were in Hebrew, its possible that something was lost in the translation. Its also possible, that despite being thousands of miles away and surrounded by enemies, Israelis are pretty much like everyone else. I still want to take my trip. But this book did nothing to either entice me to do so or prepare me for the experience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
A mixture -- beautiful, sad, weird. But definitely worthwhile. I was disappointed not to be successful in finding books available by these authors.
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By Janet M Fox on May 4, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dislike difficulties in finding the book. Available copies are limited.
Recommended to anyone interested in fine literature, Israeli literature and Israeli culture at various time periods in a variety of locales.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Reader in Tokyo on May 27, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was published in 1996 and contained 16 works by 15 writers. As far as could be determined, there were 12 short stories, 2 excerpts from novels, 1 piece of reportage, and 1 essay. All the works were translated from Hebrew.

The oldest writers in the collection were two immigrants from Poland, Yosl Birstein (1920-) and Shulamith Hareven (1930-2003), as well as the native-born Amos Oz (1939-) and A. B. Yehoshua (1939-). Among the youngest were Gadi Taub (1965-), Gafi Amir (1966-) and Etgar Kerrett (1967-). Others included David Grossman (1954-), David Ehrlich (1959-), and Yehudit Katzir (1963-). Of all the writers, five were women. Not included in the collection were distinguished authors such as Aharon Appelfeld and Amos Elon.

The collection was weighted heavily toward the contemporary. Ten of the works were from the 1990s, five from the 1980s and one, by Yehoshua, from the 1950s. The settings included Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Eilat, nameless small towns, a kibbutz, and borders with the West Bank and Syria.

The book's introduction briefly surveyed Israeli writing after the 1940s, seeing homogeneity in the 1950s and through much of the 1960s. The great majority of the authors of the time were male, of Ashkenazi heritage, with backgrounds in socialist Zionist youth movements and veterans of the 1948 war. In their work, the army and the kibbutz were adopted repeatedly as settings, with urban life coming to the fore only in the 1960s. Frequent themes were issues of national values and the tension between private desires and social expectations. The style, it was said, was frequently humorless social realism.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
The best two stories in the collection, in my opinion: You Never Can Tell by Gad Taub, and Idoletry by Yoram Kolerstein.
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