June 1, 2010

Hebrew Book Week - Part II: My Reading List

If we were to consult Harold Bloom's Western Canon in search of the best writers in Hebrew, and limited ourselves to writers of prose (sorry poetry lovers, but you should have seen this coming; this blog is named Ars Prosa, after all) we would come up with seven writers. Adding the writers of the 10 best works of fiction written in Hebrew since 1948 (according to an extensive 2007 survey of critics and intellectuals) only provides 4 new names for the list. My own readings, prejudices, and paltry knowledge somehow manage to round out the list to 20 writers, presented in the following table (author's names link to Wikipedia articles, book titles to Amazon pages, when available):
Writers Harold Bloom's Western Canon 10 Best Books Since 1948 Other Notable Works
S.Y. Agnon In the Heart of the Seas;
Twenty-One Stories
Shira  To This Day;
Only Yesterday 
Aharon Appelfeld The Immortal Bartfuss;
Badenheim 1939
 - Blooms of Darkness;
To the Land of the Cattails 
Orly Castel Bloom  - Dolly City  Human Parts 
David Grossman See Under: Love  See Under: Love;
The Book of Intimate Grammar
 The Zigzag Kid;
Someone to Run With
Alon Hilu Death of a MonkThe House of Rajani 
Yoel Hoffmann  - Curriculum Vitae;
The Book of Joseph
Amalia Kahana-Carmon  - Under One Roof And Moon in the Valley of Ayalon 
Yoram Kaniuk His Daughter  Himmo, King of Jerusalem;
The Last Jew 
Sayed Kashua Dancing Arabs;
Let it Be Morning 
Yehoshua Kenaz Infiltration  After the Holidays;
The Way to the Cats 
Etgar Keret  -  - The Nimrod Flipout;
The Girl on the Fridge
Hanoch Levin  -  - Selected Plays
Amos Oz A Perfect Peace A Tale of Love and Darkness My Michael;
Black Box
Yaakov Shabtai  Past Continuous  Past Continuous Past Perfect;
Uncle Peretz Takes Off
 Meir Shalev Esau;
The Blue Mountain
Moshe Shamir  He Walked Through the Fields;
The King of Flesh and Blood
Anton Shammas  Arabesques
David Vogel  -  - Married Life;
They All Went Out to Battle
A. B. Yehoshua  A Late Divorce  Five Seasons Mr. Mani;
The Liberated Bride
S. Yizhar Days of Ziklag  Khirbet Khizeh;
Midnight Convoy 
So far I've only read works by nine of the writers listed above, so this seems like a pretty good reading list to start with (as well as a good shopping list for the upcoming Hebrew Book Week sales, since I only own 14 of the 52 titles listed above, though I could probably "borrow" a few from my parents). If this list seems too long and demanding for you, the generally agreed-upon "masters" of Hebrew literature are Grossman, Oz, Shalev, and A.B. Yehoshua, while Yaakov Shabtai's Past Continuous is consistently placed at the top of every list (including mine) as the single greatest Israeli novel (but more on that later...)

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