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A selection of the Best Writing in Israel Today
Edited by Joel Blocker, introduction by Robert Alter
The present volume of Israeli stories reassuringly illustrates the other half of a frequently asserted half-truth. Modern Hebrew literature, it is claimed, liked Yiddish literature, does not really share the large concerns of serious literary activity in the West. The Hebrew writer ordinarily does not address himself to the human situation with all of its far-reaching possibilities of tragedy of comedy, but to the Jewish situation, which is quite another thing. Consequently, Hebrew and Yiddish writers—so goes the claim—develop a system of typology rather than methods of characterization, for they are most essentially interested in the Jewish people, its particular qualities and its present fate or ultimate destiny, while the individual, who is central in other modern literatures, stands at the periphery of their vision.
“These stories, with the excellent commentary, are a moving and . . . eloquent literary record of an emerging society.”
“The stories are uniformly good, able to stand comparison with the best being done anywhere today.”