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Israel in Translation
8 minutes | 16 days ago
Meir Shalev’s “The Blue Mountain”
Set in a rural village prior to the creation of the state of Israel, The Blue Mountain describes a community of eastern European immigrants as they pioneer life in a new land. Narrated by Baruch, a grandson of one of the founding fathers of the village, the novel offers not only a fascinating account of the hardships experienced by the Jewish pioneers, but is also extremely funny and imaginative. It is arranged as a series of vignettes, narrated by Baruch, a mortician, who reflects on the many people he has buried in a remote village. Text The Blue Mountain. By Meir shalev. Translated by Hillel Halkin. Cannongate Books, 2001.
8 minutes | a month ago
The Poetry of Avot Yeshurun
On this episode, Marcela features the poems of a fascinating writer whose pen name was Avot Yeshurun. He published his first book of poems in 1942, and his last book appeared in 1992, on the day before he died. Text “Memories are a House” by Avot Yeshurun. Translated by Leon Weiseltier, Poetry Magazine “The Son of the Wall” by Avot Yeshurun. Translated by Leon Weiseltier, Poetry Magazine “The Collection” by Avot Yeshurun. Translated by Harold Schimel, Poetry International Rotterdam “A Day Shall Come” by Avot Yeshurun, translated by A. Z. Foreman in Poems Found in Translation
9 minutes | a month ago
Ayelet Tsabari’s “Savta”
Marcela shares the second installment of a three-part podcast on Ayalet Tsabari’s important and beautiful memoir, The Art of Leaving. Although it was written in English, Tsabari’s native language is Hebrew. This episode gives us a glimpse of Israelis from Yemen, whose stories are so rarely told. Text Ayelet Tsabari, The Art of Leaving. Harper Collins, 2019.
7 minutes | 2 months ago
A. B. Yehoshua’s “The Lover”
On this episode, Marcela highlights The Lover, the first novel by A. B. Yehoshua, which he wrote in 1977. Yehoshua has been called the Israeli Faulkner, perhaps because of this novel. It is narrated from the point of view of each of its six main characters. Text The Lover by A. B. Yehoshua. Translated by Philip Simpson. Doubleday & Co., 1978. https://tlv1.fm/arts-culture/2015/07/22/a-b-yehoshuas-green-seas-and-yellow-continents/ https://tlv1.fm/israel-in-translation/2020/08/12/the-tunnel/
7 minutes | 2 months ago
Meir Shalev’s “Four Meals”
Meir Shalev has been featured on two previous episodes. Four Meals is his third of eight novels. He’s also published 7 works of nonfiction and 13 children’s books. Four Meals is the story of Zayde, his enigmatic mother Judith, and her three lovers. When Judith arrives in a small, rural village in Palestine in the early 1930s, three men compete for her. Globerman, the cunning, coarse cattle dealer who loves women, money, and flesh Jacob, owner of hundreds of canaries and host to the four meals which lends the book its narrative structure, and Moshe, a widowed farmer, who gives Zayde his home. During the four meals, which take place over several decades, Zayde slowly comes to understand why these three men consider him their son and why all three participate in raising him. Text Four Meals, by Meir Shalev. Translated by Barbara Harshav, 2000. https://tlv1.fm/israel-in-translation/2020/07/29/meir-shalevs-my-wild-garden/ https://tlv1.fm/israel-in-translation/2015/06/03/my-russian-grandmother-and-her-american-vacuum-cleaner-israel-in-translation/
6 minutes | 3 months ago
Batya Gur’s “Murder on a Kibbutz”
On this episode, Marcela revisits Batya Gur, who introduced the murder mystery into Hebrew literature. Gur’s highbrow mysteries are often set in closed communities that mirror issues in the greater Israeli society. You can hear a previous podcast on her life and literary influence, as well as an excerpt from, Murder in Jerusalem, by following the link below. Text Murder on a Kibbutz. A communal Case. by Batya Gur. Translated by Dalya Bilu. Harper Perennial, 1994. Previous Episode on Batya Gur https://tlv1.fm/arts-culture/2014/10/29/the-israeli-detective-novel-israel-in-translation/
8 minutes | 3 months ago
Ari Shavit’s “My Promised Land”
This book catapulted Ari Shavit into the international spotlight. The book was a New York Times best seller and listed by the Times in its “100 Notable Books of 2013.” The Economist named it as one of the best books of 2013 and it received the Gerrard and Ella Berman Memorial Award in History from the Jewish Book Council. It also won the Natan Book Award. Text My Promised Land, by Ari Shavit. Spiegel & Grau, 2013.
7 minutes | 4 months ago
Yaniv Iczkovits’s “The Slaughterman’s Daughter”
On this episode, Marcela reads an excerpt from Yaniv Iczkovits’s novel The Slaughterman’s Daughter: The Avenging of Mende Speismann by the Hand of her Sister Fanny. It is translated from the Hebrew by Orr Sharf. The protagonist of this book is the titular character, Fanny Keismann, who leaves her home and her wonderful husband, a cheesemaker, and their beloved children, to find her sister’s husband. Adventures and misadventures ensue. Text The Slaughterman’s Daughter, by Yaniv Iczkovits. Translated by Orr Sharf. Maclehose Press. Quercus, 2020.
12 minutes | 4 months ago
Ayelet Tsabari’s “Yemenite Recipes”
Today, Marcela finishes the three-part series on Ayalet Tsabari’s wonderful memoir, The Art of Leaving, with her favorite thing: cooking! This episode unveils the secrets of Tsabari’s family kitchen. You’re going to want to take notes for this one! Text Ayelet Tsabari, The Art of Leaving. Harper Collins, 2019
9 minutes | 5 months ago
Vaan Nguyen’s Poetry Collection: “The Truffle Eye”
In her introduction to Vaan Nguyen’s collection, Adriana X. Jacobs writes, “Nguyen’s poetry may circulate in the Anglophone literary market as part of an increasingly visible Vietnamese literary diaspora… And yet, introducing Nguyen’s poetry to the Anglophone reader needs to account for the particularities of the Vietnamese experience in Israel without letting it entirely overshadow her work.” Between 1977 and 1979, approximately 360 Vietnamese refugees entered Israel, and of that number, about half left for the United States or Europe. Those who stayed were able to apply for Israeli citizenship, take on jobs, start families, and continue with their lives. Nguyen’s parents were among these refugees. She was born in Ashkelon, Israel in 1982, one of five daughters. The family moved around and eventually settled in Jaffa Dalet, a working-class—and largely immigrant and Arab—neighborhood that is part of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality, “not the pastoral tourist part, but the section that is far from the sea,” Nguyen explains. Text The Truffle Eye, Vaan Nguyen. Translated by Adriana X. Jacobs. Zephyr Press; Nov. 2020 Previous Episode on Vaan Nguyen’s Work https://tlv1.fm/israel-in-translation/2017/04/26/sitting-with-strangeness-a-conversation-with-adriana-x-jacobs/
7 minutes | 5 months ago
Lali Tsipi Michaeli’s “The Mad House”
Have you seen the Crazy House on HaYarkon Street in Tel Aviv? It’s a highrise that looks like pink cement, with some metallic puffed cream lobbed at the front of it? Or at least that’s how it seems to Marcela. It used to look that way to the poet Lali Tsipi Michaeli, as well. Michaeli says “fear is what I felt as a child every time I drove with my parents in a car on Hayarkon Street. As the car was about to reach the “crazy house” (I called it the “scary”), I hid on the back seat floor and closed my eyes tightly. The house troubled the girl I was. Over the years it has become a Tel Aviv landscape and I have always had a certain aversion to it, a kind of traumatic childhood memory.” Text The Mad House by Lali Tsipi Michaeli, translated by Michael Simkin. Adelaide Books, 2020. Previous Episode with Lali Tsipi Michaeli
9 minutes | 6 months ago
Yishai Sarid’s “The Memory Monster”
Yishai Sarid’s The Memory Monster takes the form of a report by the narrator, a young Israeli Holocaust scholar, written to his superior from the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem, and raises ethical questions about the struggle to cope with the memory of the Holocaust. Text Yishai Sarid. The Memory Monster. Translated by Yardenne Greenspan. Restless Books, Sept. 2020.
8 minutes | 6 months ago
Hayim Nahman Bialik’s “Random Harvest”
School has begun, and once again children are learning how to read, encountering the alphabet for the first time. Hopefully it is a pleasant and magical time, but here is a story of a boy who feared his teacher, although he loved the alphabet. It’s a chapter called The Alphabet and What Lies between the Lines, from Hayim Nahman Bialik’s unfinished Novella, Random Harvest. Text Random Harvest and other Novellas by Haim Nachman Bialik. Translated by David Patterson & Ezra Spicehandler. Toby Press, 2005.
9 minutes | 7 months ago
Tehila Hakimi’s “COMPANY”
As we labor under unbelievable pressures and uncertainties of the pandemic, especially women who have children at home, it might make us feel a little better to see that the writer Tehila Hakimi already envisioned what work in 2020 would be like back in 2018. Here are some excerpts of her experimental, fragmentary text, COMPANY. It is addressed to a nameless “woman in a workspace”—that describes, head-on, the corporate work experience, its gendered dimensions, and its operative, emptied-out language. The piece is translated by Maayan Eitan. Text: Company, by Tehila Hakimi (Resling Publishing House: The Lab Series for Contemporary Literature, 2018). English translation copyright 2019 by Maayan Eitan.
10 minutes | 7 months ago
Rachel (Ra’hel) Bluwstein’s “Transformation”
It’s Sukkot again! Over the years in this podcast we’ve focused on various aspects of this holiday — inviting guests, selecting an etrog, the transitory nature of our existence on earth. This time, Marcela focuses on the agricultural aspects — the festival was originally connected to the harvest. And to help us along is Rachel Bluwstein, Israel’s farmer-poet. Text: Flowers of Perhaps by Ra’hel. Translated by Robert Friend with Shimon Sandbank. Toby Press, 2008. Sad Melody by Ra’hel translated by Chana Shuvaly Previous Episode Featuring Rachel Bluwstein
9 minutes | 7 months ago
Ayelet Tsabari’s Memoir, “The Art of Leaving”
This week, amidst the holidays, Marcela celebrates by reading an excerpt from Ayelet Tsabari’s newly published memoir, The Art of Leaving. Text: Ayelet Tsabari, The Art of Leaving. Harper Collins, 2019. Previous Episode Featuring Ayelet Tsabari
10 minutes | 8 months ago
Yochi Brandes’ “The Orchard”
On this episode, Marcela features Yochi Brandes’ ninth book, The Orchard. It is the second to be translated into English, this time by Daniel Libenson. The Orchard tells the story of the venerated yet enigmatic Rabbi Akiva, placing him in the context of his contemporaries, the Sages of Jewish tradition and of early Christianity. Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Ishmael, Rabban Gamaliel, Paul of Tarsus, and many others. Get your discounted hardcopy through email@example.com Text: The Orchard, by Yochi Brandes, translated by Daniel Libenson. Gefen Publishing House (2018).
9 minutes | 8 months ago
“Three”: D. A. Mishani’s Thriller Read
Marcela has got a thriller for you! Three, by D. A. Mishani, is a page turner that tells the stories of three women: Orna, a divorced single-mother looking online for a new relationship; Emilia, a deeply religious Latvian immigrant on a spiritual search; and Ella, married and mother of three, returning to University to write her thesis. All of them will meet the same man. His name is Gil. And he won’t tell the truth about himself. Text: D. A. Mishani. Three. Translated by Jessica Cohen. Europa Editions, August 18, 2020.
11 minutes | 9 months ago
It may sound crazy, but A. B. Yehoshua has written a page-turner about an aging engineer in the early stages of dementia, which features descriptions of highway construction in great detail. How on earth did he do this? Well, perhaps it is the honest grappling with what it feels like to be diagnosed with an illness that will eventually erase your personality and knowledge. And surely it is the context of the engineer’s long and loving marriage to a pediatrician, a marriage that is full of humor, understanding, and honesty. And finally, it is the mystery of the secret military highway in the desert, and the textured relationships of two engineers on opposite ends of their career, an army general, and the people who inhabit the negev, whose secret lives are intertwined with the fate of the road. Text: A. B. Yehoshua, The Tunnel. Translated by Stuart Schoffman. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, August 2020. Previous Podcast on A. B. Yehoshua https://tlv1.fm/arts-culture/2015/07/22/a-b-yehoshuas-green-seas-and-yellow-continents/
9 minutes | 9 months ago
Meir Shalev’s “My Wild Garden”
With the world hit hard by the pandemic, Marcela has been taking consolation in nature, noting, as well, the benefits on the flora and fauna around us when we humans withdraw a little from the world and allow nature more space. The March arrival of Meir Shalev’s book, My Wild Garden. Notes from a Writer’s Eden, in Joanna Chen’s eloquent translation, could not have been more timely. A beautiful book, from the size and shape of the hard copy, to the feel of the paper. Even the font type is notable. Rafaella Shir’s watercolor illustrations subtly draw out the descriptions, rather than compete with them. Marcela reads her favorite passage, which is from the introduction of the book. Text: Meir Shalev, My Wild Garden. Notes from a Writer’s Eden. Translated by Joanna Chen. Illustrated by Rafaella Shir. Shocken Books, March 31, 2020 Previous podcast on Meir Shalev
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