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Paperback Talking to the Enemy: Stories Book

ISBN: 1583227296

ISBN13: 9781583227299

Talking to the Enemy: Stories

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

Winner of the 2006 American Library Association Sophie Brody Award

A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2005

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has shaped the consciousness of a generation, but never before has it been brought to life in such vivid and telling prose. Part Tim O'Brien and part Bernard Malamud, Avner Mandelman's Talking to the Enemy ranges from boisterously entertaining tales of domestic squabbles to dark narratives...

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

Ten times more powerful than 'Munich', where is Mandelman now?

A long time ago I read a short story, 'Pity', in 'Best American Stories 1995'. The story was an intense tale of Israeli secret service hunting a Nazi. It blew me away. It took over ten years before I tried to hunt down more from the writer, Avner Mandelman. This is the only other fiction of his I've been able to find, and it is incredible. It carries ten times the power of the film 'Munich'. The title story brought me to tears. Mandelman shows the futility and absurdity of the tension in the Middle East in such an intimate, real, and powerful manner. This book should be required reading for anyone who cares about human conflict. I only wonder why Mandelman has not built a career. Evidently, he runs the investment firm Giraffe Capital, and is the author of 'The Sleuth Investor', a tome about financial strategies. There's another book titled 'Cuckoo', but it seems out of print, and 'Talking to the Enemy' has a story with same name. What happened? Sometimes, I guess, the life of the writer is too painful too pursue, and based on these stories, I can see why Mandelman perhaps would have chosen a career with less headaches, like heart surgeon or investor. 'Talking to the Enemy: Stories' should stay in the public's mind, and hopefully one day Mandelman will write a novel or more stories.

brilliant stories

This is really one of the major achievements when it comes to literature about Israel written in English. These fierce, unsparing stories tell us a great deal about the costs of being tough, of unending violence, of the suppression of softer human qualities. Mandelman's language perfectly captures the landscape, the anxieties, the sense of loss of contemporary Israel. There is a steady proliferation of fiction about Israel but this is the real thing.

Captivating Stories--Highly Recommended

Mandelman has crafted some provocative, haunting vignettes. These stories go quickly, but I had to put the book down after each one to reflect on what I had just experienced. I had to finish each story in one sitting, though, even though I was (slightly) late for appointments twice. These stories of Israeli life and emotions were quite moving, and like good literature should be, slightly disturbing.

Dazzling darkness

Having finished this book, I read it all over again. I have never done this before in my life (64 this month!). These discrete stories work off and illuminate each other - if illuminate is the word for such a darkly pessimistic (and, yes, funny!) view of human nature, taking the Israeli experience as paradigm. The whole thing's a tragedy for the Jews because they're a damaged people in the process of damaging their non-Jewish neighbours; but in that too it's like family life. I guess Mandelman's saying we're all damaged - oy veh! - but this is no way a depressing read; beautifully written and edited (apart from some dodgy French) its bleakly irreverent voice will alas not be heard by those who most need to hear it. More, please, Mandelman!
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