Saturday, 5 August 2017

#WorldReads - five books from Israel

If this is your first visit to my WorldReads blog series, the idea of the posts is to encourage and promote the reading of global literature. On the 5th of each month I highlight five books I have read from a particular country and you can see links to previous countries' posts at the end of this post.

This month's country is Israel! David Grossman's new novel A Horse Walks Into A Bar was my Book of the Month for July so, even though I had already chosen to feature Israeli authors next, this post feels even more timely. Here are a further five Israeli-authored novels that I enjoyed.


Weeping Susannah

Weeping Susannah by Alona Kimhi

Buy from independent booksellers via Alibris
Buy the book from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository
Buy the paperback from Waterstones

Read my original review on Stephanie Jane

Set in Tel Aviv, Weeping Susannah is written in the first person and takes us through several months in the life of a thirty-three year old woman. Susannah lives basically as a child, cared for by her aging mother, as her chronic depression leaves her unable to cope with every day life. She has a horror of bodily functions including simply eating so cannot eat in front of anyone, and has never had a job or adult friends other than those of her mother. When an American second cousin unexpectedly arrives and expects to stay in Susannah's home, she initially shuts herself away in her room, but gradually begins to discover that she can be stronger and more social than she believes.



About The Night by Anat Talshir

Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy the ebook from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository
Buy the paperback from Waterstones

Read my original review on Literary Flits

I was surprised in reading About The Night by similarities to another then recent read, The Memory Of Love by Aminatta Forna. Both are intense love stories whose male protagonist is named Elias - Elias Riani here, Elias Cole in The Memory Of Love - who tells of his love from a hospital bed looking back across the years. Both are set in countries at war - Israel and Sierra Leone. Both have a dual timeline of then and now, and I thought both were absolutely beautiful to read.



Good People by Nir Baram 

Buy the ebook from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from Speedyhen
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository
Buy the paperback from Waterstones

Read my original review on Literary Flits

The recent Brexit and Trump victories made the 2016 English language publication of Good People scarily timely. I read a statistic that 89% of a population will keep their heads down and not dispute their government's actions if there is a chance of repercussions against themselves or their families. In this novel, Baram explores two everyman characters in 1939-41 Germany and Russia. Thomas, in Berlin, and Sasha, in Leningrad, aren't special people, despite how they like to see themselves. They wouldn't have made any great impact except for the fact of their existing when and where they did. They could be any one of us and, in times of fear when totalitarianism and fascism become the norm, they are likely to represent the great 'silent' majority.



The Secret Book Of Kings by Yochi Brandes

Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy the ebook from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the hardback from Speedyhen
Buy the hardback from The Book Depository

Read my original review on Literary Flits

Two themes recur throughout The Secret Book Of Kings: 'Stories are deadlier than swords' and 'Our nation has a short memory'. Brandes' exploration of biblical history from the vanquished House of Saul's point of view cleverly illustrates both of these thought-provoking statements in the context of a gripping historical novel.



Trail Of Miracles by Smadar Herzfeld

Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy from independent booksellers via Alibris
Buy the ebook from Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

Read my original review on Literary Flits

For such a short novella (just over a hundred pages), Trail Of Miracles is a surprisingly long read. This is a book to consider and to linger over rather than a fast-paced page-turner. The tale was inspired by the true story of an 18th century Ukrainian woman and it does feel rooted in truth, but with frequent diversions into dreams and matters of faith so I was often unsure how much of what I reading was Gittel's actual story and how much was stories that she told.


That's it for August's WorldReads from Israel. I hope I have tempted you to try reading a book from this country and if you want more suggestions, click through to see all my Literary Flits reviews of Israeli-authored books! Please do Comment your own favourite Israeli books below and if you fancy buying any of the five I have suggested, clicking through the links from this blog to do so would mean I earn a small commission payment.

If you missed any earlier WorldReads posts, I have already 'visited' America, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Ireland, ItalyNew Zealand, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.
In September I will be highlighting five books by Greek authors. See you on the 5th to find out which ones!

No comments:

Post a Comment