×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Preliminaries
     

Preliminaries

by S Yizhar, Dan Miron (Introduction), Nicholas de Lange (Translator)
 
Strongly autobiographic, Preliminaries progresses frame by frame, showing a boy growing up in a Jewish farming community in Palestine and in the young city of Tel Aviv between the years 1917 and 1930. The boy's sensual experience, his most primary, embryonic grasp of the world, coalesces with the adult consciousness looking back, a kind of late return to the

Overview

Strongly autobiographic, Preliminaries progresses frame by frame, showing a boy growing up in a Jewish farming community in Palestine and in the young city of Tel Aviv between the years 1917 and 1930. The boy's sensual experience, his most primary, embryonic grasp of the world, coalesces with the adult consciousness looking back, a kind of late return to the innermost part of the child. His growing-up is linked to the story of the land of Israel in the early days of Jewish agricultural settlement: the longing to create a new Jew, the harsh existence of the struggling community, the early clashes between Jews and Arabs. Yizhar's pictures are rich in sensual power, laden with scents and colors. But the real subject of Preliminaries is a child's discovery, in confusion, wonder and terror, of the concrete world around him. In resurrecting his childhood in the land of Israel, Yizhar is carrying out a gentle stocktaking of the renewed Jewish society.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

This first volume of Yizhar's semiautobiographical novel was published in Hebrew in the 1990s after years of silence from this late Israeli writer, best known for his work in the 1940s and 1950s. Written in a stream-of-consciousness style with an intense sense of location, Yizhar's novel follows a young artist from infancy in the Negev through childhood in Jaffa and Tel Aviv to adolescence in an agricultural settlement. Mirroring the perspective of a child, the novel's first third can be repetitive and even dull; however, as the child grows, the narrative gains momentum. The protagonist experiences the 1921 riots in Jaffa, while life in Tel Aviv is colored by financial worries and the new technology and entertainment-soda fountains, jazz, and silent cinema. The final section is rich with descriptions of the natural environment and illustrations of the symbiotic relations between the Arab and Jewish laborers. Though occasionally obscure to readers not familiar with the Yishuv (the Jewish settlement in Palestine before the state of Israel), this is a difficult, complex work of art and a portrait of a time and a place that are long gone. Recommended.
—Leora Bersohn

Kirkus Reviews
From the late Israeli author (1916-2006), a novel short on plot and character, long on the Awareness of Things; first published in 1992 and now translated into English. Herein fall the shadows of Joyce (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man), Faulkner (As I Lay Dying) and Woolf (The Waves), for, like those masters, Yizhar (Midnight Convoy and Other Stories, 1969, etc.) is preoccupied with the way the mind works, the way it apprehends objects and experiences the world. Given such a preoccupation with subjective states, it's not surprising that the novel subordinates setting and plot to the contours of consciousness, and yet, over time, we gradually become aware of characters and of the space they inhabit. The novel consists of a series of long interior monologues, beginning with a child's earliest memories of his father, a farmer and "tiller of the soil," plowing a field in Palestine around the year 1917. His meditations on connection to family and to the land are interrupted by a vicious attack by wasps and by his father's subsequent panicked attempts to get him medical attention. This movement from philosophical introspection to personal crisis provides the story's rhythm. We learn most of the story through a series of concatenated monologues in which we move from the child's initial terror to his awakening (and, to him, bewildering) sexual awareness in early adolescence. A major theme involves the narrator's growing sense of place and his concern with renewal of the land. Early in life, he learns about despair: "This land is given to desperate people . . . to truly desperate people. And they all compete to see who is the most truly desperate," but his ultimate epiphany is the sweetawareness that "everything here is provisional . . . and you bathe your heart in the certainty that everything will turn out well."Truly a novel that will claim your heart.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781592641901
Publisher:
Toby Press LLC, The
Publication date:
05/01/2007
Series:
Hebrew Classics Series
Pages:
500
Product dimensions:
(w) x 5.75(h) x 1.20(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews