Meir Shalev’s “Four Meals”

Photo: Nati Shohat/Flash90

Meir Shalev has been featured on two previous episodes. Four Meals is his third of eight novels. He’s also published 7 works of nonfiction and 13 children’s books.

Four Meals is the story of Zayde, his enigmatic mother Judith, and her three lovers. When Judith arrives in a small, rural village in Palestine in the early 1930s, three men compete for her. Globerman, the cunning, coarse cattle dealer who loves women, money, and flesh Jacob, owner of hundreds of canaries and host to the four meals which lends the book its narrative structure, and Moshe, a widowed farmer, who gives Zayde his home.

During the four meals, which take place over several decades, Zayde slowly comes to understand why these three men consider him their son and why all three participate in raising him.

Text

Four Meals, by Meir Shalev. Translated by Barbara Harshav, 2000.

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