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About Jessica Cohen
Jessica Cohen is an independent translator born in England, raised in Israel, and currently living in Denver. She translates contemporary Hebrew prose and other creative work. In 2017, she shared the Man Booker International Prize with David Grossman, for her translation of "A Horse Walks Into a Bar." She has translated works by other major Israeli writers including Etgar Keret, Amos Oz, Ronit Matalon and Nir Baram. She is the recipient of Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, and a past board member of the American Literary Translators Association.
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“A magnificent book . . . The way Grossman writes about these regions is unique, with a deep understanding of our experience.” —Josip Mlakić, Express (Croatia)
More Than I Love My Life is the story of three strong women: Vera, age ninety; her daughter, Nina; and her granddaughter, Gili, who at thirty-nine is a filmmaker and a wary consumer of affection. A bitter secret divides each mother and daughter pair, though Gili—abandoned by Nina when she was just three—has always been close to her grandmother.
With Gili making the arrangements, they travel together to Goli Otok, a barren island off the coast of Croatia, where Vera was imprisoned and tortured for three years as a young wife after she refused to betray her husband and denounce him as an enemy of the people. This unlikely journey—filtered through the lens of Gili’s camera, as she seeks to make a film that might help explain her life—lays bare the intertwining of fear, love, and mercy, and the complex overlapping demands of romantic and parental passion.
More Than I Love My Life was inspired by the true story of one of David Grossman’s longtime confidantes, a woman who, in the early 1950s, was held on the notorious Goli Otok (“the Adriatic Alcatraz”). With flashbacks to the stalwart Vera protecting what was most precious on the wretched rock where she was held, and Grossman’s fearless examination of the human heart, this swift novel is a thrilling addition to the oeuvre of one of our greatest living novelists, whose revered moral voice continues to resonate around the world.
In a dive bar in a small Israeli city, Dov Greenstein, a comedian a bit past his prime, takes the stage for his final show. Over the course of a single evening, Dov’s patter becomes a kind of memoir, taking us back into the terrors of his childhood. And in the dance between comic and audience, a deeper story begins to take shape as Dov confronts the decision that has shaped the course of his life—a story that will alter the lives of several of those in attendance.
A Horse Walks Into a Bar is a poignant exploration of how people confront life’s capricious battering.
Set in Israel in recent times, this epic yet intimate novel places side by side the trials of war and the challenges of everyday life. Through a series of powerful, overlapping circles backward in time, it tells the story of Ora's relationship with her husband, from whom she is now separated, as well as the tragedy of their best friend Avram, a former soldier — and her son's biological father. When her son Ofer rejoins the army for a major offensive, Ora is devastated and decides to hike in the Galilee, leaving no forwarding information for the "notifiers" who might deliver the worst news a parent can hear. She phones Avram, whom she has not seen in 21 years, and convinces him to go with her. As they journey together, Ora unfurls the story of her family, and gives Avram the gift of his son — a telling that keeps the boy alive for both his mother and the reader.
Never have we seen so vividly the surreality of daily life in Israel, the consequences of living in a society where the burden of war falls on each generation anew. David Grossman's rich imagining of a family in love and crisis makes for one of the great anti-war novels of our time.
When Liat meets Hilmi on a blustery autumn afternoon in Greenwich Village, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Charismatic and handsome, Hilmi is a talented young artist from Palestine. Liat, an aspiring translation student, plans to return to Israel the following summer. Despite knowing that their love can be only temporary, that it can exist only away from their conflicted homeland, Liat lets herself be enraptured by Hilmi: by his lively imagination, by his beautiful hands and wise eyes, by his sweetness and devotion.
Together they explore the city, sharing laughs and fantasies and pangs of homesickness. But the unfettered joy they awaken in each other cannot overcome the guilt Liat feels for hiding him from her family in Israel and her Jewish friends in New York. As her departure date looms and her love for Hilmi deepens, Liat must decide whether she is willing to risk alienating her family, her community, and her sense of self for the love of one man.
Banned from classrooms by Israel’s Ministry of Education, Dorit Rabinyan’s remarkable novel contains multitudes. A bold portrayal of the strains—and delights—of a forbidden relationship, All the Rivers (published in Israel as Borderlife) is a love story and a war story, a New York story and a Middle East story, an unflinching foray into the forces that bind us and divide us. “The land is the same land,” Hilmi reminds Liat. “In the end all the rivers flow into the same sea.”
Praise for All the Rivers
“Rabinyan’s book is a sort of Romeo and Juliet, a forbidden love affair between a Jewish girl from Tel Aviv and a Palestinian boy from Hebron. . . . [A] beautiful novel.”—The Guardian
“A fine, subtle, and disturbing study of the ways in which public events encroach upon the private lives of those who attempt to live and love in peace with each other, and, impossibly, with a riven and irreconcilable world.”—John Banville, Man Booker Prize–winning author of The Sea
“I’m with Dorit Rabinyan. Love, not hate, will save us. Hatred sows hatred, but love can break down barriers.”—Svetlana Alexievich, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature
“Astonishing . . . [a] precise and elegant love story, drawn with the finest of lines.”—Amos Oz
“Rabinyan’s writing reflects the honesty and modesty of a true artisan.”—Haaretz
“Because the novel strikes the right balance between the personal and the political, and because of her ability to tell a suspenseful and satisfying story, we decided to award Dorit Rabinyan’s [All the Rivers] the 2015 Bernstein Prize.”—From the 2015 Bernstein Prize judges’ decision
“[All the Rivers] ought to be read like J. M. Coetzee or Toni Morrison—from a distance in order to get close.”—Walla!
“Beautiful and sensitive . . . a human tale of rapprochement and separation . . . a noteworthy human and literary achievement.
“Three is an outstanding thriller. From the first page, Mishani’s addictive prose begins its work, drawing you into a devious plot where life, fate, and murder intertwine.” — Olivia Kiernan, author of Too Close to Breathe
When Orna meets Gil on an online dating site, their lackluster affair seems like nothing more than a way to stave off the pain of her recent divorce. But soon it becomes clear that Gil may not be exactly who he claims. And Orna’s own lies may be weaving an unexpected trap for her.
Set against the backdrop of the gritty suburbs of Tel Aviv, Three is a slow-burning psychological thriller from the internationally celebrated master of crime and suspense D. A. Mishani.
A writer wakes up in a hotel room in an unfamiliar city. His clothes are muddy; he doesn’t know how long he’s been lying in bed. Yonatan came to participate in a literary festival that is long over—why is he still here? When he attempts to reconstruct his lost days, he learns that he told people at the festival that his best friend had died.
Except his friend is still alive.
Yonatan stays on in Mexico City, reluctant to return to his wife and infant son back home in Tel Aviv. Convinced that his closest friend, Yoel, is going to die, he struggles to preserve his sanity. But why is he so convinced? Does the answer lie in their childhood in Jerusalem, when it was them against the world?
At Night’s End is a compassionate and personal novel about an extraordinary friendship between two boys who become men haunted by a shared past. It is also a universal story of family and love, and of the power of memory and imagination.
Nir Baram was born in Jerusalem in 1976. He is the author of five novels, including Good People, which was translated into English in 2016. His novels have been translated into more than ten languages and received critical acclaim around the world.
‘Baram is the best writer in his generation with no comparison.’ A. B. Yehoshua
‘A spectacular accomplishment by one of the most wonderful Hebrew writers.’ Israel Today
‘One of the most intriguing writers in Israeli literature today.’ Haaretz
A National Jewish Book Award Finalist
Israeli author Amos Oz has won numerous awards for his novels capturing the cultural and political complexities of his country, including the Frankfurt Peace Prize, the Primo Levi Prize, and the National Jewish Book Award. But these essays on the universal nature of fanaticism and its possible cures, on the Jewish roots of humanism and the need for a secular pride in Israel, and on the geopolitical standing of Israel in the wider Middle East and internationally, “may contain his most urgent message yet.” (Ruth Eglash, Washington Post).
These essays were written, Oz states, “first and foremost” for his grandchildren: they are a patient, learned telling of history, religion, and politics, to be thumbed through and studied, clung to even, as we march toward an uncertain future.
“Concise, evocative . . . Dear Zealots is not just a brilliant book of thoughts and ideas—it is a depiction of one man’s struggle, who for decades has insisted on keeping a sharp, strident and lucid perspective in the face of chaos and at times of madness.” —David Grossman, winner of the Man Booker International Prize
This acclaimed debut novel takes readers inside the mind of a young and deeply conflicted Israeli soldier: “Israel’s own The Catcher in the Rye”(The Los Angeles Review of Books).
The Drive follows the emotional and psychological journey of a young Israeli soldier who is unable to carry out his military service yet terrified of the consequences of leaving the army. As the unnamed soldier and his father drive along the Coastal Highway to meet with a military psychiatrist, Yair Assulin offers a penetrating view of Israeli society, a young man in crisis, and the universal urge to resist regimentation and violence.
Weary of being forced to join a larger collective, the soldier yearns for an existence free of politics, the news cycle, and perpetual battle-readiness. But to seek such a life would mean risking the respect of those he loves most. The Drive is a compelling story of an urgent personal quest to reconcile duty, expectations and individual instinct.
The uneventful life of a jeweler from Tel Aviv changes abruptly in 2011 after Fareed, a handsome young man from Damascus, crosses illegally into Israel and makes his way to the ancient port city of Jaffa in search of his roots. In his pocket is a piece of a famous blue diamond known as "Sabakh." Intending to return the diamond to its rightful owner, Fareed is soon swept up in Tel Aviv's vibrant gay scene, and a turbulent protest movement. He falls in love with both an Israeli soldier and his boyfriend--the narrator of this book--and reveals the story of his family's past: a tale of forbidden love beginning in the 1930s that connects Fareed and the jeweler.
Following Sabakh's winding path, The Diamond Setter ties present-day events to a forgotten time before the establishment of the State of Israel divided the region. Moshe Sakal's poignant mosaic of characters, locales, and cultures encourages us to see the Middle East beyond its violent conflicts.
Award-winning journalist and author Nir Baram spent a year and a half travelling around the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In this fascinating recount of that journey, Baram navigates the conflict-ridden regions and hostile terrain to speak with a wide range of people, among them Palestinian–Israeli citizens trapped behind the separation wall in Jerusalem and Jewish settlers determined to forge new lives on the West Bank.
Baram also talks to children on Kibbutz Nirim who lived through the war in Gaza, and ex-prisoners from Fatah who, after spending years detained in Israeli jails, are now promoting a peace initiative. And he returns again and again to Jerusalem, city of his birth, where a hushed civil war is in full swing.
A Land Without Borders is a clear-eyed, compassionate and essential guide to understanding a complex reality; a perceptive and sensitive exploration of a labyrinthine conflict and the experiences of the people ensnared in it, by one of the most distinctive writers working in Israel today.
Nir Baram was born into a political family in Jerusalem in 1976. His grandfather and father were both ministers in Israeli Labor Party governments. He has worked as a journalist and an editor, and as an advocate for equal rights for Palestinians. He is the author of five novels, including Good People, which was translated into English for the first time in 2016. His novels have been translated into more than ten languages and received critical acclaim around the world. He has been shortlisted several times for the Sapir Prize and in 2010 received the Prime Minister’s Award for Hebrew Literature.
‘An honest and troubling snapshot of Israel...From horror to fatigue to indifference, an important look forward and back that provides a grass-roots sense that one state needs to satisfy sovereignty for all.’ Kirkus Review, starred review
‘Written with great talent, momentum and ingenuity...it expands the borders of literature to reveal new landscapes.’ Amos Oz
‘One of the most intriguing writers in Israeli literature today.’ Haaretz
‘Quite possibly, Dostoyevsky would write like this if he lived in Israel today.’ Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Good People
‘An engaging, fast-paced odyssey that conveys an intimate understanding of why peace remains so elusive…Nir Baram does what more people in the region should undertake: a grand listening tour that encompasses all sides of the conflict. The author is a good listener, too, albeit one who isn’t afraid to ask hard questions.’ Christian Science Monitor
‘Baram brings an open heart and mind to exploring the difficulties of coexistence where physical and emotional walls do harm on both sides, reaching beyond headline to explore the lives of Palestinians and Jews of different generations.’ Booklist
‘For all outside of the land who bandy Israel/Palestine talking points about—indeed, for those in it who rarely interact with those on the other side—these raw perspectives are a necessary introduction to the incredibly complex nature of the current divide.’ Foreword Reviews [4 stars]