Page 25 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 23

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19
L
a p id e
— B
ooks
in
t h e
L
a n d
o f
t h e
B
ook
psychological analysis. There are no ideological problems raised
in the book and no social and political discussions. Its directness
of approach has met with enthusiasm on the part of many Israeli
readers, despite the fact that Mrs. Eitan has not yet entirely
mastered the art of the novel.
Another important recent novel is
Saul and Johanna
by another
woman writer, Naomi Frankel. This is a sequel to her earlier
novel of the same name. Both books deal with the last years of
German Jewry, just before the onslaught of the Nazi terror, and
are composed in true epic style. Mrs. Frankel reveals herself as
an acute and intimate observer of the events and characters she
chronicles.
One of Israel’s greatest writers of fiction, S. J. Agnon, published
the eighth volume of his collected works, called
The Fire and
the Wood.
As the title implies, it includes some of his short
stories dealing with Jewish martyrdom throughout the genera-
tions, from the early Middle Ages up to the present day.
Aharon Meged, a well-known writer of the younger generation,
published three novellas under the title
The Flight,
which re-
count in a somewhat surrealistic manner the author’s recent trip
to the Soviet Union. The stories constitute a new stage in the
artistic development of Mr. Meged, who is also very active as a
playwright. A new writer of promise is Itzhak Orpaz, who two
years ago published a book of short stories and has lately ap-
peared with his first novel,
Skin for Skin,
which describes the
inner life of his hero, Mumu, during the stormy days of the
Sinai campaign.
A book of stories recalling the tragedy of the survivors of the
European holocaust,
Smoke
by A. Apelfeld, is the only original
major work on this subject published in Israel in the past year
(there have, of course, been many scholarly studies and mono-
graphs). Mr. Apelfeld is a lyrical writer whose particular interest
is the drama of the individual who survived the terror, but can-
not escape his awful memories.
I. D. Berkowitz, the familiar short story writer and translator
of Sholem Aleichem (he is the Yiddish master’s son-in-law), pub-
lished a book of reminiscences of his travels throughout the
country soon after his arrival in Palestine at the beginning of
the thirties. It is appropriately called
Yesterday,
and describes
the land and its people with an observant eye and rare under-
standing.
Israeli youth not only write a plethora of poetry, but also
produce booklets of local lyrics which are national bestsellers
and which rate next to the Hebrew University’s “required read-
ing lists” and to archaeology, an all time favorite. Dalia Ravi-
kovitz’s
Love of Oranges,
Nathan Sach’s
He and She,
and T.