Accidents

Overview

For Shira Klein, Yonatan Luria, and his daughter, Dana, it is winter—winter at work, winter among friends, winter at home, and winter of the heart. Yonatan is a marginal writer, a fifty-year-old widower left to raise his child alone. When he meets Shira, a bestselling author paralyzed by stage fright, the thaw begins as man, woman, and girl enter a halting relationship, alternately tender and belligerent, generous and withdrawn.

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Accidents: A Novel

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Overview

For Shira Klein, Yonatan Luria, and his daughter, Dana, it is winter—winter at work, winter among friends, winter at home, and winter of the heart. Yonatan is a marginal writer, a fifty-year-old widower left to raise his child alone. When he meets Shira, a bestselling author paralyzed by stage fright, the thaw begins as man, woman, and girl enter a halting relationship, alternately tender and belligerent, generous and withdrawn.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"When you read a book like Yael Hedaya's Accidents—a fine-grained, tragicomic, and always gripping portrait of adult love in the making—you wonder why so few such books are produced, and why they are not more fanfared. . . . This book is, in every sense, the real deal."—The Atlantic

"[A] rewarding novel . . . utterly realistic and charming . . . Hedaya does an expert job of detailing these two self-conscious cynics' early courtship."—The Forward

"Though the three novellas of Hedaya's Housebroken are funny and accomplished, they do not prepare one for the depth of her new novel. . . . Hedaya has an unerring sense of the fear involved in attempting intimacy, and her book contains one of the best descriptions of bad sex with the wrong person."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"The author's detailed, slowly unfolding story captures the growth of affection and the conflicts inherent in new relationships. . . . Hedaya is able to bring an impressive multidimensionality to her characters."—Booklist

Publishers Weekly
Though the three novellas of Hedaya's Housebroken (2001) are funny and accomplished, they do not prepare one for the depth of her new novel, a slow-motion Tel Aviv love story, in which a new couple finds their relationship haunted by past affairs. Yonatan Luria is a famous, 50-ish writer whose novels are less successful each time out, and he has only begun to try to work again, two years after his wife's death; first time novelist Shira Klein is so surprised by the success of her book that she calls upon her boring ex, who sustained her while she wrote it, to see if he's still available. Hedaya expertly details Yonatan's and Shira's varying and more or less depressing circumstances until they meet at a dinner party, and the usual skittish evasions of courtship and early dating ensue. Hedaya has an unerring sense of the fear involved in attempting intimacy, and her book contains one of the best descriptions of bad sex with the wrong person (in an attempt to avoid the right person) ever. By the end, hope reigns for this accidental family-in-the-making. Agent, Deborah Harris. (Sept. 1) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In this introspective debut novel, popular Israeli author Hedaya (Housebroken) delves into a complicated set of personal relations. Dana, a precocious ten-year-old, and her father, Yonaton, are still trying to overcome the grievous loss of Dana's mother, Ilana, in an auto accident. Yonaton is trying to get back to penning his novel but is facing writer's block big time, his past success of no help now. As the plot builds, Hedaya explores the minutiae of daily life-e.g., Dana's girlhood uncertainties and Yonaton's efforts to make a life as a single father. Shira, a writer with her own set of doubts, enters the picture, embarking on a relationship with Yonaton as neighbors, friends, past lovers, and childhood memories combine in a chorus to bring the three characters together. Readers will appreciate the depiction of the interior lives of writers as well as the skillful portrayal of delicate family dynamics. Presented in a fine translation, this work is highly recommended.-Molly Abramowitz, Silver Spring, MD Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Two writers cautiously inch toward love in this Israeli university teacher's sluggish first novel, following the collection Housebroken (2001). Yonatan Luria, 45, lives in Tel Aviv with his ten-year-old daughter Dana. His wife Ilana died five years before in a car accident. Since then Yonatan has written only a few pages, though he has a reputation based on two earlier novels about love. Money's not a problem; Ilana's rich American parents continue to send regular checks. Yonatan's eventual partner, 36-year-old Shira Klein, saw her first novel top the bestseller list, but that was three years ago. She too has writer's block. Shira is unmarried, though she has had affairs. She doesn't make things easy for herself; if men are either "very smart or not enough," out come her claws. Yonatan, who considers himself an excellent lover, has been celibate for years, though women are always hitting on him. These two difficult people, lonely, restless and self-hating, meet over dinner at a mutual friend's house. He wants me, he wants me not, muses Shira. She wants me, she wants me not, muses Yonatan. Just do it, begs the reader, but their first kiss will not come until past the halfway point, and it will be another 100 pages before a joint declaration of love. Meanwhile, Dana is experiencing preadolescent anxieties, and Shira's retired father Max is slowly dying. Hedaya provides context through glimpses of Tel Aviv life, but she does not have the alchemy to invest the mundane with significance. Towards the end, as Yonatan begins teaching in Jerusalem, attention shifts to Shira's vigil for Max. That's unfortunate, for the love relationship could use closer examination after Yonatan's university gigexposes him as a supreme narcissist, thrilled that his students are more interested in him than in Faulkner, his ostensible subject. A superficial, verbose account of a problematic relationship.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312426040
  • Publisher: Picador
  • Publication date: 7/11/2006
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

Yael Hedaya is a journalist and humor columnist for the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot, and the Tel Aviv weekly magazine Halr. She currently teaches creative writing at Tel Aviv University. Accidents, her first novel, was a bestseller in Israel. She lives in Tel Aviv, Israel.

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