ISRAELI STORIES by Joel Ed. Blocker


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Among literary devotees both here and in Europe, the writing emanating from Israel over the last decade never generated much enthusiasm, the themes being considered too parochial and the techniques provincial. However, now with editor Joel Blocker's cross section assemblage, a revision of critical opinion would appear to be in order, or at least for the works of oldsters S.Y. Agnon and Haim Hazaz and the up and coming Yahuda Amihai. Agnon explores through symbolic structures and legend-like prose the death of the past and with it transcendent religious values, or using the metaphor of a colony and generations of lepers he seeks to embody the Jewish experience...Hazaz, on the other hand, offers a secular sensibility, a social-questioning neo , while Amihai, probably the most sophisticated, employs surrealist irony and irrationalism in a striking study of Jerusalem during the Sinai campaign and the nightmarish preparations for a war that never took place. The remaining five, unfortunately, are not as successful, though dealing with such vital themes as divided allegiances in the British Mandate days, contretemps between Arab and Jew, childhood in growing, grumbling Tel Aviv. In any case, a more than gratifying presentation, showing not only the modernizing influence of Kafka and Camus, Sartre and Babel, but the rising, resonant individual voice as well.

Publisher: Schocken