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The Confessions of Noa Weber: A Novel Paperback – February 10, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Melville House (February 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933633689
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933633688
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.4 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,686,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Noa Weber is the complex narrator of Hareven's moving love story, the first of her works to be translated into English. In 1972, Noa is wrapping up her final exams and preparing to be drafted into the Israeli army when she meets a Russian student named Alek. They promptly sleep together, and Noa is transfixed by her paramour. She's helpless to resist her compulsive love and sexual addiction for Alek, and fantasizes about marrying him, even though she claims he doesn't love her. In fact, her love is so strong, it remains unwavering throughout various life changes and occupations—the birth of her daughter, Hagar; a stint in law school; and a career as an author of feminist thrillers—causing Noa to wonder if her love isn't part of some larger yearning. She's a likable character, and Hareven pulls off the difficult task of allowing the reader to evaluate Noa and Alek's relationship from both inside it and outside of it. This contemplative inquiry into the nature of love speaks across cultures and introduces a compelling new Israeli voice to English-speaking readers. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

"...witty and compelling [it] will leave American readers...pining for more." 
Jessa Crispin, NPR Books We Like

“A very wise book, and it is written in the most beautiful, precise and definitive prose.”
—Lia Nirgad, Ha’aretz Literary Supplement

“Sometimes one has the experience of reading a book and just falling in love with it—because it is so well written, so moving, it gets into your soul. That was my experience when I read The Confessions of Noa Weber.” Ha’aretz

"Highly recommended."Library Journal

"This contemplative inquiry into the nature of love speaks across cultures and introduces a compelling new Israeli voice to English-speaking readers." Publishers Weekly

"[A] compelling account of obessive love." Complete Review


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Iqbal on May 1, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first 30 pages are annoying. Basically a love sick woman going on and on about her loser BF. But then - it gets more profound and insightful. And you start saying things like, "I thought I was the only one who thought things like that!!". This book delves into the pysche of the female mind like no other book. If that idea bores you, don't read it. If that idea intrigues you, RUN and pick this up. Just be patient enough to get to the good parts.
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Format: Paperback
Is it possible to truly appreciate and love a novel if you hate the main character? Before reading "The Confessions of Noa Weber", I would have said it's extremely unlikely. Now I can say (with some level of relief) that it is entirely possible. All one needs is the excellent writing of Gail Hareven, several interesting feminist themes, a bizarre love story, a large helping of cynicism and a strong sense of pacing.

The strength of "The Confessions of Noa Weber" lies in Hareven's ability to create a contradictory character. Noa is not a character to be admired - she makes many mistakes and poor decisions, she has a particular form of self-centered wish-fulfillment (in the form of her fictional alter-ego, Nira Woolf), and she lives her life by the beat of her "true love" Alek ("My True Love" being the official title in the original Hebrew). For a supposedly feminist character, we discover that Noa is hardly the strong, independent woman we would expect.

These contradictions may make Noa obnoxious within the context of the story, but as a character, it all works brilliantly. Hareven writes in a sharp, biting style, but it never stumbles or grows too abrasive. Through this tone, Noa's voice is completely brought to life. She speaks, she breathes. This style isn't the typical lyrical beauty one might expect, but it's beautiful nonetheless. Hareven's flow and pacing are spot on - the novel doesn't drag for a moment. For a book without much technical action, this is a rather amazing feat.

So what is "The Confessions of Noa Weber" about? Mostly love, in many forms. But that's not all. Through Noa's memories and life, we get thoughts on publishing, literature, art, family, politics, feminism... Few stones are left unturned, though at no point does Hareven lose track of her overall thread. There is no clutter here - I would describe the novel as impeccably and perfectly clean.

Highly recommended!
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Sarah M. on February 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
I've been in a reading rut for a while, but I've just started this book and I can safely say that I'm totally sucked in. Rut = over. I'm really interested in the contrast between the protagonist's interior life and the way she is seen by the rest of the world. I'm also impressed by Bilu's translation - Israeli critics have hailed Hareven's beautiful use of language, and I'm glad to see that the translation doesn't seem to lose any of that beauty or talent.
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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Luca Graziuso and Marina Ross on June 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
An interior monologue of disparate layers of introspection, where the emotional, physical and spiritual obsessions of Noa Weber are unearthed with a gravedigger's distance and the archeologist's mindfulness alike. We find a woman obsesed with her unbidden love for a mysterious man in such merciless honesty and unscrupled dissecting (yet always endowed with a poetic cadence) that bring to the surface strata of consciousness, cultural discord (contemporary Israel and the social expectations implicated); the dismay of an academic (Noa is a respected professor possessing all the trappings of a "feminist" life); and the desire to make sense of a psychologically unexplainable valence Noa has awarded to her passion for Alek. Noa has a daughter - whom she raised on her own: the troubles of her pregnancy are evoked in a most startlingly relentless intimacy with the culture and femininity in a way that this side of Toni Morrison has rarely been indulged in (in fiction). The modern-day setting of a turbulant and globalized Israel is of consequence but never detail-heavy, and references abound to movies and books which are of the most common stock to Western culture - such as Ginsberg and Casablanca.
The exceptional feat of this narrative is that it fathoms the fetishes and thwarted desires of a woman whose voice resounds deep within the well of loss and hope where her wish to examine the most bewildering experience of her life becomes a means of transforming the irrational into transcendent wisdom. Love in spite of psychology...
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