Israeli Literature

Contemporary Israel has produced a rich and varied body of work, by both emigres and sabras (those born in Israel), tied by several popular themes, including: reconciling the horrific past with the relative ease of the present; the transition from childhood to adulthood; and the literary recreation of Jewish communities long disappeared from the physical landscape. Many of the writers in our collection are also accomplished journalists, playwrights, and poets in Israel.

[Fiction] [Short-Stories and Folktales] [Poetry] [Non-Fiction] 

Fiction

S.Y. (Shmuel Yosef) Agnon . A Guest for the Night (1888-1970)
An Israeli citizen returns to the Eastern European town of his birth after the Holocaust to find the vibrant, idealized Jewish community of his memory disappeared, forcing him to choose between the steady, repressive old ways of his past and an uncertain but liberated future.
Also by this author:
A Book that was Lost, and Other Stories
The Bridal Canopy
In the Heart of the Seas
Shira
Twenty-one Stories
Aharon Appelfeld. Badenheim 1939
Appelfeld’s most famous work, about an assortment of Austrian Jews vacationing at a summer resort on the eve of the Holocaust, deliberately oblivious to the many signs warning of their tragic fates.
Also by this author:
The Age of Wonders
The Conversion
For Every Sin
The Healer
The Immortal Bartfuss
The Iron Tracks
Katerina
The Retreat
To the Land of the Cattails
Tzili, the Story of a Life
Unto the Soul
Hanan J. Ayalti. The Presence is in Exile, Too
A collection of vignettes, all about Jews fleeing Europe in the 1930s and ’40s in the hope of finding safe harbor from the Nazis in various locales around the globe (and one imaginary place, as well).
Joseph Chaim Brenner. Out of the Depths
The saga of impoverished Russian immigrants striking against their employer, the owner of a London Jewish daily newspaper, for replacing men with machinery during the industrial revolution. Considered a Hebrew language classic.
Rachel Eytan. The Fifth Heaven
The melancholy story of Maya, an adolescent girl living in a Tel Aviv orphanage after World War II, and the older man with whom she has an affair, has been revered in Israel since its publication in 1962.
David Grossman. The Zigzag Kid
A comic road adventure/coming-of-age tale in which a twelve-year-old boy learns his family secrets while in the company of an aging international criminal.
Also by this author:
The Book of Intimate Grammar
See Under -- Love
The Smile of the Lamb
Batya Gur. Murder on a Kibbutz: A Communal Case (Mystery Gur.B)
The third in a series featuring Israeli police detective Michael Ohayon, this time using his maverick style to slowly crack the code of silence on a kibbutz (agricultural commune) when one of its members is poisoned.
Also by this author:
Literary Murder: A Critical Case (Mystery Gur.B)
The Saturday Morning Murder: A Psychoanalytic Case (Mystery Gur.B)
Yoram Hamizrachi. The Golden Lion and the Sun
An adventurous tale in which the CIA pairs a tough Persian general with a retired Israeli spy to rescue Iranian hostages in the early 1980s.
Shulamith Hareven. The Miracle Hater
A fictionalized account of the Exodus from Egypt, as told by a survivor of the experience.
Also by this author:
City of Many Days
Thirst: The Desert Trilogy
Twilight and Other Stories
Yoram Kaniuk. Confessions of a Good Arab
A tragicomic allegorical tale of a half-Arab, half-Jewish man whose mixed heritage makes him an outsider in both worlds and ultimately dooms his relationship with the woman he loves.
Also by this author:
The Acrophile
His Daughter
Yehudit Katzir. Closing the Sea
Four novellas about young Israeli women, each trying to survive despite loneliness and loss, touchingly portrayed in this author’s debut work.
Amos Kenan. The Road to Ein Harod
A tense political thriller with a touch of the film The Defiant Ones: an Israeli escaping a fascist Tel Aviv for the freedom of a legendary kibbutz is paired with an Arab -- also on the run -- who hates Jews with a vengeance.
Yehoshua Kenaz. After the Holidays
A family’s dark side emerges after emigrating from Europe to a quiet village in Jewish Palestine in the the early twentieth century, affecting not only the family members, but the simple townspeople as well.
Also by this author:
The Way to the Cats
Yeshayahu Koren. Funeral at Noon
A young housewife and her ten year old neighbor in a small Israeli town in the 1950s meet a soldier on their daily walks, prompting her to break free of her isolation with tragic consequences for her entire community.
Ronit Matalon. The One Facing Us
A complex depiction of the life of a formerly prestigious family of Egyptian Jews now scattered throughout the world through the eyes of Esther, a wild Tel Aviv teenager sent to live with her strict uncle in central Africa.
Aharon Megged. Asahel
A young man relates through journal entries his struggle to break free of his painful past, fall in love, and, most importantly, find a place in Israeli society.
Also by this author:
The Short Life
Sami Michael. Refuge
Centering on the moral and ethical dilemmas faced by Shula, a wife and mother, Michael weaves an intricate and solemn story of politics, conflict, racism, and mercy.
Yitzhak Oren. The Imaginary Number: Short Stories
Judaism and Israeli life are the common threads in this collection of absurd and fantastic tales.
Uri Orlev. The Lead Soldiers
In this semi-autobiographical work, two young brothers try to obscure the horrors of the Holocaust by turning their experiences in the Warsaw Ghetto and then Bergen-Belsen (concentration camp) into a series of games.
Amos Oz. Panther in the Basement
Set in the last days of British-occupied Jerusalem, this is the story of a boy torn between his friendship with a British soldier and his loyalty to his friends and the Jewish Resistance.
Also by this author:
Black Box
Don't Call it Night
Elsewhere, Perhaps
Fima
The Hill of Evil Counsel: Three Stories
My Michael
A Perfect Peace
To Know a Woman
Touch the Water, Touch the Wind
Unto Death
Where the Jackals Howl, and Other Stories
Joseph Perl. Revealer of Secrets: The First Hebrew Novel (892.436 Perl.J)
A biting satire of 18th and 19th century European Hasidism by a prominent member of the Haskala (Jewish Enlightenment). Translated by Rabbi Dov Taylor of Congregation Solel in Highland Park.
Dorit Rabinyan. Persian Brides
A tale of two girls and the inhabitants of their little Persian town, circa 1900, evoking the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of a particular time and place.
Yaakov Shabtai. Past Continuous
Told in a stream-of-consciousness type of style, three Tel Aviv men experience several events over a nine-month period as they face middle age.
Also by this author:
Past Perfect
Nathan Shaham. The Rosendorf Quartet
Four disparate Holocaust survivors, all accomplished European musicians, use their love of music and performing as a means of adjusting to their new lives in the young Israeli state.
Also by this author:
Bone to the Bone
The Other Side of the Wall: Three Novellas
David Shahar. Summer in the Street of the Prophets & A Voyage to Ur of the Chaldees: Novels One and Two of The Palace of Shattered Vessels
The first two novels in Shahar’s six-volume masterwork, about life in Jerusalem -- for Jews, Arabs, and Christians alike -- in the early twentieth century.
Also by this author:
His Majesty's Agent
News from Jerusalem: Stories
Gershon Shaked. Six Israeli novellas edited (Fiction Short Stories Shake.G)
A diverse collection by six of Israel’s leading contemporary writers.
Meir Shalev. The Blue Mountain (see also CASSETTE V SHAL-M BM G 16)
A magical, poignant story of the colorful Ashkenazi inhabitants of a pioneer village in Israel’s Jezreel Valley at the start of the twentieth century, as told in reminiscences by the grandson of one of the original settlers.
Also by this author:
Esau
Loves of Judith
Anton Shammas. Arabesques
A haunting portrait of Palestinian village life in the Galilee by an acclaimed Israeli Arab poet and novelist.
Benjamin Tammuz. Minotaur
When a beautiful woman forsakes her mystery lover known to her only through his passionate love letters for another man whom she can see and touch, her secret admirer turns out to be a dangerous man consumed with vengeance.
Also by this author:
The Orchard
Requiem for Na’aman
David Vogel. Married life
The compelling story of a disturbingly dysfunctional marriage almost takes a backseat to its richly described setting: Vienna in the 1920s.
A.B. Yehoshua. A Journey to the End of the Millennium
A revered author takes his readers on a voyage through the year 999 CE, guided by Ben Attar, a traveling Jewish merchant with two wives and a feuding family.
Also by this author:
Early in the Summer of 1970
Five Seasons
A Late Divorce
The Lover
Mr. Mani
Open Heart

Short Stories and Folktales

Gilah Ramraz-Rauch & Joseph Michman-Melkma (editors). Facing the Holocaust: Selected Israeli Fiction (Fiction/Short Stories/Ramraz)
Michael Gluzman & Naomi Seidman (editors). Israel: A Traveler's Literary Companion (Fiction Short Stories Gluzm.M)
Joel Blocker. Israeli Stories: A Selection of the Best Contemporary Hebrew Writing (892.43/B62ix)
Glenda Abramson (editor). The Oxford Book of Hebrew Short Stories (Fiction Short Stories Abram.G)
Sholom Jacob Kahn. A Whole Loaf: Stories from Israel (892.43/K122wx)

Poetry

Abraham Birman. An Anthology of Modern Hebrew Poetry (892.4 B537ax)
Yehuda Amichai. Even a Fist was Once an Open Palm with Fingers: Recent Poems (892.416 Amich.Y)
Also by this author:
The Early Books of Yehuda Amichai (892.416 Amich.Y)
Great Tranquility: Questions and Answers (892.416 Am51se)
Poems (892.41 Am51px)
Poems of Jerusalem (892.416 Amich.Y)
The Selected Poetry of Yehuda Amichai (892.416 Amich.Y)
Time: Poems (892.416 Am51t)
Travels (892.416 Am51tr)
Yehuda Amichai: A Life of Poetry, 1948-1994 (892.416 Amich.Y)
Modern Hebrew Poetry (892.41 M72)
Ruth Finer Mintz (editor). Modern Hebrew Poetry: A Bilingual Anthology (892.41008 MIN)
Abba Kovner. My Little Sister and Selected Poems, 1965-1985 (892.416/Kovne.A)
Robert Mezey (editor). Poems from the Hebrew (892.41 M579p)
Shmuel HaNagid. Selected Poems of Shmuel HaNagid (892.412 Samue.H)
Gabriel Preil. Sunset Possibilities and Other Poems (892.416/Preil.G)
Dahlia Ravikovitch. The Window: New and Selected Poems (892.416/Ravik.D)

Non-Fiction

Aharon Appelfeld. Beyond Despair: Three Lectures & a Conversation with Philip Roth (809.9335 Appel.A)
Ephraim Kishon. Blow Softly in Jericho (892.47 K642bx)
Also by this author:
Noah's Ark, Tourist Class (892.47 K642nx)
Amia Lieblich. Conversations with Dvora: An Experimental Biography of the First Modern Hebrew Woman Writer (892.435 Baron.D Liebl.A)
Yosef Bau. Dear God, Have You Ever Gone Hungry?: Memoirs (940.5318 Bau.Y)
Robert Alter. Defenses of the Imagination: Jewish Writers and Modern Historical Crisis (809.9335 ALT)
Esther Fuchs. Encounters with Israeli Authors (892.409 ENC)
Amos Oz. In the Land of Israel (915.694 OZ)
Also by this author:
The Slopes of Lebanon (956.92 Oz.A)
Israel, Palestine, and Peace: Essays (956.9405 Oz.A)
Under this Blazing Light: Essays (956.9405 Oz.A)
Arnold J. Band. Nostalgia & Nightmare: A Study in the Fiction of S.Y. Agnon (892.43/Ag68zB)
Stanley Gevirtz. Patterns in the Early Poetry of Israel (892.4109 G337p)
Shifra Horn. Shalom, Japan: A Sabra's Five Years in the Land of the Rising Sun (915.2 Horn.S)
David Grossman. Sleeping on a Wire: Conversations with Palestinians in Israel (956.9405 Gross.D)
Also by this author:
The Yellow Wind (956.953 Gross.D)
Amos Oz. The Story Begins: Essays on Literature (808.3 Oz.A)
Nathaniel Kravitz. 3,000 years of Hebrew Literature: From the Earliest Time Through the 20th Century (892.409/K869t)
Shulamith Hareven. The Vocabulary of Peace: Life, Culture, and Politics in the Middle East (956 Harev.S)
Berel Lang (editor). Writing and the Holocaust (940.5315 Writing)
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