Katschen and The Book of Joseph

Overview

"These two quietly stunning novellas mark the American debut of a writer of international importance."—Publishers Weekly
In kaleidoscopic fragments, Hoffmann refracts Jewish popular lore and folk wisdom through a postmodernist prism, brightening his prose with snatches of verse, songs, diary excerpts, letters, ominous dreams, lush erotic passages and Yiddish sayings. "The Book of Joseph" tells the tragic story of a widowed Jewish tailor and his son in 1930s Berlin. "Katschen" gives an astounding child's-eye view ...

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Overview

"These two quietly stunning novellas mark the American debut of a writer of international importance."—Publishers Weekly
In kaleidoscopic fragments, Hoffmann refracts Jewish popular lore and folk wisdom through a postmodernist prism, brightening his prose with snatches of verse, songs, diary excerpts, letters, ominous dreams, lush erotic passages and Yiddish sayings. "The Book of Joseph" tells the tragic story of a widowed Jewish tailor and his son in 1930s Berlin. "Katschen" gives an astounding child's-eye view of a boy orphaned in the new state of Israel. The novellas radiate the original poetry of Hoffmann's atomized hypnotic language, which Rosmarie Waldrop has called "utterly enchanting—it's like nothing else."

Yoel Hoffman is the recipient of the First Annual Koret Jewish Book Award for Fiction (1999).

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Editorial Reviews

The New Leader
“The stunning American debut of Romanian-born Israeli author Yoel Hoffmann.”
Atlanta Jewish Times
“These two novellas, Yoel Hoffman's English-language debut, deliver a cache of themes particular to post modern Israeli literature, all the while paying homage to Yiddish folklore and Jewish mysticism.”
Bomb
“Unadulterated, cerebral and exquisitely phrased (most remarkably in this English translation), Hoffmann's writing pretends to nothing but what it achieves: a meditative journey through the mind, heart and history, the scope of which is so gratifying, so stimulating, so difficult to describe.”
World Literature Today
“Yoel Hoffmann's prose has a poetic quality, full of imagery and symbolism.... Hoffmann skillfully views life through the eyes of a confused and innocent young boy who possesses a vivid imagination and never loses hope regardless of his misfortunes.”
Cooper Renner - elimae
“Magnificent. Dreamlike and powerful. These are both astonishingly fine works.”
Amos Oz
“Reading Hoffmann's subtle prose is like viewing the same universe, alternately and with the most skillful modulations, through a telescope and a microscope, only to find out, in awe, that the astral view and the infinitesimal view are actually one and the same.”
Bomb
“Unadulterated, cerebral and exquisitely phrased (most remarkably in this English translation), Hoffmann's writing pretends to nothing but what it achieves: a meditative journey through the mind, heart and history, the scope of which is so gratifying, so stimulating, so difficult to describe.”
elimae
“Magnificent. Dreamlike and powerful. These are both astonishingly fine works.”— Cooper Renner
The New Yorker
“[N]ew beginnings awaken Hoffmann's characters to foreign, often spectacular landscapes, and the author's prose ... insures the reader an equally enlightening experience.”
Forward
“Israel's celebrated avant-garde genius-in English at last.”
Boston Globe
“Like other Israeli novelists of his era, Hoffmann faces the challenge of voicing the unspeakable. He has a Mozartean sense of the emotional interplay of light and shadow, and in his close stitchery of everyday life and mythical experience, his many-colored Joseph's dreamcoat is seamless.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811214056
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 5/17/1999
  • Pages: 162
  • Sales rank: 562,035
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Yoel Hoffmann was born in Brasow, Romania in 1937. He is presently a citizen of Israel, and is Professor of Eastern Philosophy at the U. of Haifa. He has had a lifelong scholarly engagement with Hebrew literature, Western philosophy, and Japanese Buddhism. His is the winner of the first Koret Jewish Book Award. His books include The Heart is Katmandu, Bernhardt, The Christ of Fish, and Katschen & The Book of Joseph.

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