Truly a novel that will claim your heart.

PRELIMINARIES

From the late Israeli author (1916–2006), a novel short on plot and character, long on the Awareness of Things; first published in 1992 and now translated into English.

Herein fall the shadows of Joyce (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man), Faulkner (As I Lay Dying) and Woolf (The Waves), for, like those masters, Yizhar (Midnight Convoy and Other Stories, 1969, etc.) is preoccupied with the way the mind works, the way it apprehends objects and experiences the world. Given such a preoccupation with subjective states, it’s not surprising that the novel subordinates setting and plot to the contours of consciousness, and yet, over time, we gradually become aware of characters and of the space they inhabit. The novel consists of a series of long interior monologues, beginning with a child’s earliest memories of his father, a farmer and “tiller of the soil,” plowing a field in Palestine around the year 1917. His meditations on connection to family and to the land are interrupted by a vicious attack by wasps and by his father’s subsequent panicked attempts to get him medical attention. This movement from philosophical introspection to personal crisis provides the story’s rhythm. We learn most of the story through a series of concatenated monologues in which we move from the child’s initial terror to his awakening (and, to him, bewildering) sexual awareness in early adolescence. A major theme involves the narrator’s growing sense of place and his concern with renewal of the land. Early in life, he learns about despair: “This land is given to desperate people . . . to truly desperate people. And they all compete to see who is the most truly desperate,” but his ultimate epiphany is the sweet awareness that “everything here is provisional . . . and you bathe your heart in the certainty that everything will turn out well.”

Truly a novel that will claim your heart.

Pub Date: May 1, 2007

ISBN: 1-59264-190-3

Page Count: 302

Publisher: Toby Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2007

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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