Israel in Translation

Yochi Brandes’ “The Orchard”

“The Orchard” tells the story of Rabbi Akiva, placing him in the context of his contemporaries, the Sages of Jewish tradition and of early Christianity.

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“Three”: D. A. Mishani’s Thriller Read

Marcela has got a thriller for you! “Three” is a page turner that tells the stories of three women. All of them will meet the same man. And he won’t tell the truth about himself.

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“The Tunnel”

It may sound crazy, but A. B. Yehoshua has written a page-turner about an aging engineer in the early stages of dementia, which features descriptions of highway construction in great detail.

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Meir Shalev’s “My Wild Garden”

Meir Shalev’s “My Wild Garden. Notes from a Writer’s Eden,” is a beautiful book, from the size and shape of the hardcopy, to the feel of the paper. Even the font type is notable. The watercolor illustrations subtly draw out the descriptions, rather than compete with them.

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Miri Ben-Simhon’s “The Absolute Reader”

The literary critic Yitzhak Laor once noted about Ben-Simhon’s work and perspective, that “In the literary arena at the beginning of the 1980s, it took a lot of courage – not to speak about Mizrahim, but as one.”

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Shimon Adaf’s “Aviva-No”

Marcela examines “Aviva-No,” Shimon Adaf’s wrenching and linguistically innovative elegy to his sister, who died at the age of 43. It won the 2010 Yehuda Amichai Prize.

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Adania Shibli’s “Minor Detail”

Originally published in Arabic, “Minor Detail” centers around a brutal crime — the 1949 rape and murder of a young Bedouin girl, in the Negev, during the Israeli War of Independence. Decades later, a young woman in Ramallah becomes obsessed with the events surrounding the crime and begins to dig for details.

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The Drive

Marcela reads from Yair Assulin’s searing novel that tells the journey of a young Israeli soldier at the breaking point, unable to continue carrying out his military service, yet terrified of the consequences of leaving the army.

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Darwish’s “In the Presence of Absence”

To acknowledge those who are fasting in isolation and heat, this episode features Mahmoud Darwish’s aptly titled collection, “In the Presence of Absence.”

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“Ladies From the Bible Tell Their Tales”

The bible devotes quite a bit of space to the minds of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — we know how they feel, what makes them angry or happy. Through her poetry, Karen Alkaly-Gut gives the matriarchs a voice.

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