AB Yehoshua, Israeli writer, dies at 85

As novelist Lore Segal noted in The Times Book Review, Molkho, while his wife is still breathing, has an eye on his widowed legal adviser as a “post-mortem possibility” and spends the rest of the novel meeting with other post-mortems. -mortem possibilities.

Mr. Yehoshua won the National Jewish Book Award for fiction with “Mr. Mani” (1992), which traces the wanderings of six generations of the Sephardic Mani family through crucial periods of Jewish history. Each of its five chapters consists of dialogue from a single speaker telling a story to another character, with that listener’s missing responses implicit in the first character’s remarks. To complicate matters, the novel goes back in time.

Although evocatively set in Israel, Mr. Yehoshua’s novels are intertwined with themes that connect them to the contemporary Western canon. (Mr. Bloom has included “A Late Divorce” in a long list of works which he believes constitute this canon). As critic Jerome Greenfield wrote in 1979: “In the existential despair, pessimism, sense of dislocation and alienation that permeate his work, Yehoshua bridges modern Israeli writing with a mainstream of some of the best Western literatures of our age.”

Saul Bellow called Mr Yehoshua “one of Israel’s world-class writers”. His books have been translated into 28 languages. He won the Israel Prize, awarded annually by the state for significant cultural contributions, and in 2005 was shortlisted for the first international Man Booker Prize, then awarded for lifetime achievement.

“With a flick of his imaginative wings,” Mr. Grossman, the Israeli novelist, wrote of Mr. Yehoshua in an email, “he would show us how reality — especially ours, in Israel – is banal and absurd is surreal.

Some critics have seen Mr. Yehoshua’s novels and short stories as allegories of his yellowish view of Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians. Others have rejected these interpretations. In a review of “A Late Divorce”, Walter Goodman, a reviewer for The Times, wrote that the Israeli characters in the novel, “use money, sex, food, humor, affection, cruelty to hang on, punish each other” and that the novel “has nothing to do with the West Bank”.

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