“When a writer is motivated by empathy rather than sarcasm, his humor has the power to reach deep into the heart,” Omri Herzog noted in his 2012 Haaretz review of Yirmi Pinkus’ second novel, Petty Business, which is a tale of two families, related by marriage, who are shop owners in 1980s Israel.
The content is daring and unusual—middle-aged, petit bourgeois families are not the usual protagonists of Israeli literature, but Pinkus, who is also a graphic artist known for his humor, delivers a strangely compelling story. Marcela reads a section from near the beginning, in Yardenne Greenspan and Evan Fallenberg’s new English translation.
Text: Petty Business by Yirmi Pinkus. Translated by Evan Fallenberg and Yardenne Greenspan. Syracuse University Press, 2017.