Showing posts with label ab yehoshua. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ab yehoshua. Show all posts

Friday, August 2, 2013

A Surprise and A Sorry: July 2013 in Review

What a month July has been!  To recap...I will start with the "surprise" part of my post title.

Last week was our appointment to find out if Tater Tot (hereby the official blog name of baby #2) is a boy or a girl.  We didn't find out before Small Fry was born, so it was kind of exciting to get the reveal this early.  ALL of our friends and family were predicting girl.  And guess what?

All of our friends and family are terrible guessers.

Tater Tot is a BOY!  Woohoo!  Here comes a little brother for Small Fry!  Somebody break out the first aid kits, I'm going to need them with all these little men in my life!
Don't worry, I'm not posting the picture of his "goods".  I am not THAT mom.
Beyond that, our lives have been filled with getting ready to MOVE.  Our official move date to the temporary rental house is this coming Monday.  EEEEKKKK.  Most of my life is in boxes right now.  But hopefully by mid-next-week we will be somewhat settled into our temporary residence.

The "sorry" is for how spotty my posting will probably be during the next few weeks.  We have next week's move, and then we'll be spending lots of time getting settled and figuring out our new neighborhood/town.  I will be charging into my new adventure as a stay-at-home-mom.  And, by the end of the month, we will be preparing for our second (and FINAL) move into the new house, in September.  Don't worry, I do have some reviews lined up, but I just might not be very comment-respondy or Twitter-chatty.  I will let you know when life returns to normal though!

Onward to the July reading!

The July 2013 Fave/Least Fave choices are deceiving this month, because I can't say I disliked any of the books I read...I just liked some more than others.  So my "least fave" shouldn't be read as being a "bad" novel, capiche?

June 2013 Favorite:  Sea Creatures by Susanna Daniel
June 2013 Least Favorite:  A Woman in Jerusalem by A.B. Yehoshua

In total, I read/reviewed 6 books:
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
Joyland by Stephen King
July 7th by Jill McCorkle
The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison
A Woman in Jerusalem by A.B. Yehoshua
Sea Creatures by Susanna Daniel

I also posted 2 new Small Fry Saturday Reviews of On The Night You Were Born  by Nancy Tillman, and Roadwork by Sally Sutton.

In addition, we chatted about my biggest reading pet peeve, things that make me tell a book to talk to the hand, and the generalized chaos in my life.

So here comes August...month of moving.  AND 1-year Blogoversary!!  Stay tuned for that, I will definitely have a fun giveaway lined up.

Have a great month, readers!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Book Review: A Woman In Jerusalem by A.B. Yehoshua

Title: A Woman In Jerusalem
Author: A.B. Yehoshua
Publisher: Harcourt
Publication Date: August 14, 2006 (English translation; originally published in Hebrew in 2004)
Source: borrowed from the good ol' public library

Plot Summary from Goodreads:

A woman in her forties is a victim of a suicide bombing at a Jerusalem market. Her body lies nameless in a hospital morgue. She had apparently worked as a cleaning woman at a bakery, but there is no record of her employment. When a Jerusalem daily accuses the bakery of "gross negligence and inhumanity toward an employee," the bakery's owner, overwhelmed by guilt, entrusts the task of identifying and burying the victim to a human resources man. This man is at first reluctant to take on the job, but as the facts of the woman's life take shape-she was an engineer from the former Soviet Union, a non-Jew on a religious pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and, judging by an early photograph, beautiful-he yields to feelings of regret, atonement, and even love.

At once profoundly serious and highly entertaining, A. B. Yehoshua astonishes us with his masterly, often unexpected turns in the story and with his ability to get under the skin and into the soul of Israel today.

My Review:

This month's country selection for the Around The World in 12 Books Challenge is Israel.  Next month is Palestine, in an effort to give us challengers a chance to get to know both countries.  I found it a little difficult to find a fiction novel set in Israel that was both modern and not too Biblical (those are my preferences, not necessarily those of the other challengers), but A Woman In Jerusalem fit the bill.

This is not a novel to be read for simple plot-based entertainment.  Early on, I realized that the story is intended as a parable, an illustration of some deeper meaning or concept.  The journey of the human resources manager is not to be taken at face value, that much is obvious.  I think the first hint of that was the fact that none of the characters (except the titular Woman In Jerusalem) ever has their name revealed in the novel.  They all go by titles..."human resources manager", "office manager", "consul", etc.  From this, it's easy to glean that the events in the book are not meant to be reflective of them as individuals, but instead are supposed to convey larger concepts.

While I won't try to play it off like I know exactly what Yehoshua was trying to illustrate, my conjecture is that much of the text is meant to be a reflection on Israel and the mindset of its citizens in the present day.  I don't know enough about Israeli politics and government to get more specific than that, but certainly the human resources manager in the story is weighed down by heavy feelings of love, dedication, and remorse...all potentially reflective of a greater Israeli identity.

(I would love to hear what other readers of Yehoshua's work think of this interpretation?  Am I completely off my rocker here?)

Yehoshua's writing vacillates between the aforementioned seriousness and a lighter, more entertaining dialogue.  I appreciated that, because I think if the text felt heavy with meaning the entire time, I would have gone quickly down the road to a DNF.  However, I flew through this novel--it combines the allegorical elements with more humorous scenes fairly well.

A primary purpose of the Around the World challenge is to learn more about the culture of each country we "visit", and I think A Woman in Jerusalem was a perfect pick for that end.  I feel smarter for having read it, and I'd especially love the chance to discuss this book with anyone who has lived in, or even visited, Israel.  Though this is a pretty fast read, it's not necessarily "light", as you'll be using your noggin for sure.

Read any good parables lately, reader friends?
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