The Blue Mountain

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The absorbing first novel by one of Israel's most important and acclaimed contemporary writers focuses on four idealistic early settlers of the modern state of Israel

Set in a small rural village prior to the creation of the State of Israel, this funny and hugely imaginative book paints an extraordinary picture of a small community of Ukrainian immigrants as they pioneer a new life in a new land over three generations. Narrated by Baruch, a grandson of one of the ...

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Overview

The absorbing first novel by one of Israel's most important and acclaimed contemporary writers focuses on four idealistic early settlers of the modern state of Israel

Set in a small rural village prior to the creation of the State of Israel, this funny and hugely imaginative book paints an extraordinary picture of a small community of Ukrainian immigrants as they pioneer a new life in a new land over three generations. Narrated by Baruch, a grandson of one of the founding fathers of the village, this lyrical novel transcends time and place by touching on issues of universal relevance, showcasing the skill of a master storyteller who never fails to entertain. 

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A vast, and vastly funny, epic—a deeply felt and moving expression of complex emotions."  —Oscar Hijuelos, author, The Mambo Kings Sing Songs of Love

"Passionate, ribald and tender . . . Shalev's colorful, feisty characters and vibrant prose animate this indelible depiction of the birth of a nation."  —Publishers Weekly

"Evocative, even lyrical, with the underlying magic realism adding to the mythic stature of the villagers and their accomplishments."  —Kirkus Reviews

"A demanding but often gripping look at what it costs to make dreams a reality."  —Library Journal

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Passionate, ribald and tender, bursting with dozens of interwoven tales, this lushly nostalgic novel (a bestseller in Israel) records the loves, hates, infidelities, feuds and enterprises that fuel one community over three decades. It also gently laments the eclipse of the pioneer spirit in modern Israel. Orphaned at age two when a bomb thrown by Arab terrorists kills his sleeping parents, Baruch Shenkar is raised by his grandfather, a Russian Jewish immigrant and founding father of a cooperative village in Palestine. Now a mortician reflecting on the many people he has buried, narrator Baruch mulls over questions that still haunt him: Why did rumors circulate that Grandfather Ya'akov Mirkin killed Grandmother Feyge? Whatever became of Uncle Efrayim, who, before he mysteriously vanished, was renowned for carrying an enormous bull named Jean Valjean on his back? Shalev's colorful, feisty characters and vibrant prose animate this indelible depiction of the birth of a nation. (July)
Library Journal
Around the turn of the century many idealistic Jews left Russia to settle in Palestine; their efforts laid the groundwork of the modern state of Israel. The Blue Mountain, a best seller in Israel, focuses on four of these pioneers--three young men and the girl they all love--who settle down to farm the Jezreel valley. The strange four-way relationship they form will powerfully affect succeeding generations. Shalev's novel is complex and densely structured, moving back and forth in time, hinting at slowly revealed secrets. His characters are stubborn, argumentative, full of quirks and crotchets, irritating but believable individuals. History here has not been prettied up; the novel at times is as awkward and uncompromising as its main characters. Overall, a demanding but often gripping look at what it costs to make dreams a reality.--Beth Ann Mills, New Rochelle P.L., N.Y.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781841952420
  • Publisher: Canongate UK
  • Publication date: 7/1/2002
  • Pages: 378
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Meir Shalev is a television host, a journalist, and one of Israel's most celebrated novelists. His other books include Four Meals and A Pigeon and a Boy, for which he won the Brenner Prize, Israel's highest literary recognition.

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