Motti

Overview

An unassuming, unambitious man named Motti, who owns a dog named Laika, has a good friend named Menachem. Motti and Menachem drink beer together every week, and Motti spends the rest of his time daydreaming an imaginary love story for himself and his neighbor, Ariella. Motti is the very picture of inertia, until, one night, a drunk Menachem, driving home from a bar with Motti, runs over a woman and kills her. Menachem has a wife and children, so without any fuss, Motti — who has nothing — decides to take the ...

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Overview

An unassuming, unambitious man named Motti, who owns a dog named Laika, has a good friend named Menachem. Motti and Menachem drink beer together every week, and Motti spends the rest of his time daydreaming an imaginary love story for himself and his neighbor, Ariella. Motti is the very picture of inertia, until, one night, a drunk Menachem, driving home from a bar with Motti, runs over a woman and kills her. Menachem has a wife and children, so without any fuss, Motti — who has nothing — decides to take the blame, going to prison instead of his friend... and finding that his life there isn't too different from his life outside. "Oh dear," says the narrator, wondering how to tell us anything about such empty lives, "look at them, at all the people in this novel... if someone would really hug them, if someone would hold them tightly, they would fall to pieces."

Dalkey Archive Press

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Schurr (Amram) sets up a chilling ethical compromise in this spare, sober narrative. Told by an outside observer who doesn't hesitate to share his opinions, the novel depicts the unequal friendship between Motti and Menachem, two middle-aged men living in Jerusalem who probably (surmises the narrator) met in the army years before where "these things are established just once and never budge." Motti is an unassuming elementary school teacher who lives alone with his beloved dog and adores from afar a teenage girl living in a neighboring apartment. Menachem, meanwhile, is married with two young children, brash, self-serving, and frequently insincere. After a night of drinking together, Menachem hits and kills a pedestrian while driving drunk, and Motti, also in the car, steps up and takes the rap—five years in prison. ("hat was that but five years in which he wouldn't have to struggle," he thinks.) But after Menachem loses Motti's dog while Motti is locked up, what will transpire between the two? Schurr eloquently plays on the disquieting relationship between friends (or is it victim and bully?), and between the worth of a life lived richly on the interior, versus one lived falsely and loudly in public. (May)
Haaretz
“Exciting, wonderful, funny, charming, appealing . . . Those who don’t read Asaf Schurr’s new book are simply losing out . . . I have not read such a beautiful book for a long time, for really a very long time.”
Yedioth Ahronoth
“One of the most gifted young writers we have.”
Yedioth Tel Aviv
“Schurr’s writing is a work of a genius.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781564786425
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
  • Publication date: 5/3/2011
  • Series: Hebrew Literature Series
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Asaf Schurr was born in Jerusalem in 1976 and has a BA in philosophy and theater from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is a translator and writes literary reviews for the Hebrew press. Schurr has received the Bernstein Prize (2007), the Minister of Culture Prize (2007) for Amram, and the Prime Minister’s Prize for Motti (2008).

Todd Hasak-Lowy is Assistant
Professor of Hebrew Literature at the University of Florida. His first collection of short stories, The
Task of This Translator, was published in 2005; his debut novel,
Captives, appeared in 2008.

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