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STOCKHOLM by Noa Yedlin Kirkus Star


by Noa Yedlin ; translated by Jessica Cohen

Pub Date: Nov. 14th, 2023
ISBN: 9780063310810
Publisher: HarperVia

When renowned Israeli economist Avishay dies at home alone of an apparent heart attack, his four best friends, like him almost 70, conspire to conceal his death for a week to keep him in the running for a Nobel Prize.

Avishay is a strong contender for the honor but needs to be alive when the Nobel committee makes its decision. Yehuda, who has lived in Avishay’s shadow despite becoming rich as a young man from his invention of a kitchen bag opener, proposes the scheme to keep him “alive.” How would they want Avishay remembered, he poses: as “a nice, divorced professor of economics who had a few friends who liked him” or “a man who will be immortalized”? Not to mention a man whose foreword to Yehuda’s yet unpublished book would ensure its success if it bore the Nobel imprint? Everyone has personal gains in mind. Zohara, a single, struggling ghostwriter who has been having an affair with the womanizing Avishay for 20 years, concocts a plan to grab a big share of the Nobel prize money by claiming she was his common-law wife. Keeping the death a secret proves as hairy as it is complicated, especially after an electric bicyclist runs over the dead body during an exasperating attempt to transfer it. As much as the book—the basis for a popular Israeli TV series—thrives on dark slapstick humor, it’s no Weekend at Avishay’s. Yedlin, a master at tone, grounds the antic comedy in reflections on aging, friendship, parenthood, life as “one big effort to compensate for feelings of inferiority,” and “sadness, more sadness, respectable sadness, unsatisfying sadness, mature sadness.” In the end, the absence of real mourning on anyone’s part can be read as an embrace of life beyond death or a reflection of the shells in which many people live.

A seriously funny take on death and dying.