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Am Oved Publishing (2018-11)
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Biography, Literature & Literary studies


by Berg, Yonatan

Ya'akov, a native Berliner, is a bitter elderly man, divorced twice and out of touch with each of his four sons. Bar, his young neighbor of Iraqi origin, decides to take him under her wing and lift his spirits.

The meeting between these two contrasting personalities inspires a journey through a disunited Israel: from a Karaoke night to a small village in the Galilee, to an extravagant mansion in Herzliya to a shabby apartment block in Dimona; from a newly religious couple to a Buddhist monk who has just come back from the Far East. While war rages in the north, families fight their own battles, a small grace descends, and two strangers grow close.

Yonatan Berg is a leading Hebrew poet. He is the youngest-ever recipient of the Yehuda Amichai Prize, among other national prizes. He has published three books of poetry, one memoir, and two novels. Berg's English debut poetry collection FRAYED LIGHT (Wesleyan University Press, October 2019) appeared as "a 2019 New York Times Globetrotter Feature Choice." His first novel FIVE MORE MINUTES was awarded the Ministry of Culture Prize (2015) and nominated for the 2018 WIZO France Award. A bibliotherapist by profession, he teaches creative writing in Jerusalem.

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Together, Ya'akov's sons - the successful secular son, the newly religious one, the Buddhist and the Galilean teacher - create a tourist guide through the Israeli Ashkenazi bourgeoisie and those who don't belong, a journey that runs parallel to the geographic homes of the characters. Berg presents his own version of the traditional melodrama of the broken Israeli family. Berg, an author worthy of our attention, brings some young blood to a literary genre that is thirsty to be shaken up a bit.

Quote: Yoni Livneh, Yedioth

Berg has written an Israeli family drama, a generational novel about displacement, longing and perhaps most of all about an intensive quest for something lost, the seeker unsure of what he has been searching for, all his life.

Quote: Amos Oz

With great restraint Berg describes the climactic ups and downs that make up a human life.

Quote: Maya Selah, Ha’aretz

Berg isn't just another author dabbling in family drama, but a serious and mature artist, with a unique and intriguing voice.His language is remarkably refined, charged with richness, while maintaining a good balance between literary abundance and simplicity.Berg's poet-self is clearly visible in his work, never imposing on his tight prose.

Quote: Rivka Shaul ben Tzvi, Mekor Rishon

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