Page 45 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 9 (1950-1951)

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37
P R E I L ---- R E C E N T BOOKS IN I S R A E L
are being neglected, except that they are highly regarded by the
few, who relish the subtler nuances of literary art. As to the older
men (Asher Barash, for instance), they still take to heart old
themes, and do so ably, even nobly. But with them too the trend
is toward the topical that springs from the bright, intensely alive
young community.
As to poetry, there are some younger men who have shown
promise. Gurey and Gallai, Gilboa or Kovner, have in common
a so-called modernity; they seem to be the rather self-conscious
disciples of the “Shlonsky Group,” which introduced some twenty-
odd years ago a newer, more imagistic idiom into Hebrew poetry.
But here again one must note the creative vitality and fine
endurance of the other, older men, starting with Cahan and
Shimonowitz; of their comparative juniors, Uri Zvi Greenberg
and Shalom; of the solid middle-of-the-road group centered about
Lamdan and his monthly,
Gilyonot.
A more detailed discussion cannot be entered into here. One
cannot but confirm that no matter what the quality and intent
of the books now appearing in Israel are, they can best be described
as having in common a sense of high purpose. It is as if books on
physics or pure philosophy, literary criticism or technology,
agriculture or military tactics, are not merely to be used for their
respective utilitarian purposes. They seem to serve as guides to
the general as well as the particular, aim at a true integration of
values. And it is this search for aim and reason that makes modern
Israel and its literature so uniquely interesting to the observer
from afar.
NOVELS AND SHORT STORIES
A
r i c h a
, J
o s e p h
.
Pesak din (Decision rendered).
Tel Aviv, Twersky, 1949. 182 p•
Though one of this writer’s lesser efforts, it is nevertheless a powerful,
realistic study of men’s motives and their mores.
B
a r a s h
, A
s h e r
.
Betsel anashim tovim (In the shadow of good people).
Jerusalem,
Mossad Bialik, 1949. 221 p.
Four stories about the world tha t is now in the limbo of things forgotten.
The Jewish small town in Eastern Europe, a favorite and often repetit ive
point of departure for some of the finest Jewish writers, is here presented
lovingly and with delicately drawn details by a distinguished man of Hebrew
letters.
B
a r
- J
o s e p h
, J
o s h u a
.
I r ksuma (Enchanted city).
Tel Aviv, Twersky, 1949.
267 p.
The second volume of a trilogy, it is a novel tha t won for its author the
coveted Ussishkin Prize. I t is a saga of three generations that established
their home in eighteenth-century Safed. I t is well-integrated and picturesque,
though intellectually not over-distinguished.
B
a r o n
, D
v o r a
.
Shavririm (Splinters).
Tel Aviv, Am Oved, 1949. 208 p.
A collection of stories by the finest woman Hebrew storyteller of an earlier
generation. I t retains the lyric melancholy suggestive of Uri Nissan Gnessin,
and Brenner’s influence, too, is felt in its rather stark lucidity.