Page 125 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 42

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In fact, it is not New Zealand he yearns for but the Israel o f by­
gone days, as becomes clear from the summing up o f his vision:
“Like it was here once.” Meanwhile, however, he feels uprooted
both in his native land — where he is surrounded by contention
and corruption — and in his own home, where he is still the
Ashkenazi who never quite assimilated to the Sephardic family
into which he married. Like o ther uprooted protagonists Shuvali,
too, remains on the threshold.
On the one hand, the theme o f the uprooted protagonist in re­
cent Israeli fiction clearly indicates the continuity o f a long tradi­
tion in Hebrew letters. On the other hand, it marks a change in
attitude regarding the power o f the Jewish state to serve as a
panacea for spiritual exile. It seems that the pain o f the “cut-off
roots” has begun to have an impact and there is a growing fear of
the ensuing void. Perhaps these are to be taken as signs o f a new
spiritual and cultural awakening that will eventually help the
straying Israeli find his way back home.