Jonathan Papernick

The Ascent of Eli Israel

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Short fiction set in modern-day Israel, from an author whose “penetrating clear-sighted stories ring true” (The New York Times Book Review).
In a land where sudden death is an everyday fact of life, a boy dodges bullets and searches through rubble for news of his soldier father. A middle-aged man comforts his Holocaust-survivor mother as, facing senility, she is convinced that Nazis are conspiring against her. And the mysterious biblical red heifer makes a startling appearance in the midst of a decidedly contemporary struggle.
Giving voice to striking characters—Israelis, Palestinians, and Americans; Arabs, Christians, and Jews—caught in the ethnic, religious, social, and political conflicts of a dangerous region, the acclaimed author of The Book of Stone, who has worked there as a journalist, brings the images we glimpse from afar chillingly to life. Suffused with rage, violence, humor, magic, and religion, the tragic carnage of the Middle East is rendered in unforgettable form.
“Papernick . . . offers unique insight into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in these seven powerful stories, which approach violent coexistence from unusual angles . . . It is Papernick’s sense of the surreal, his dark humor and his consciousness of the deep roots of Jewish and Muslim culture that distinguish this collection.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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174 printed pages
Original publication
2011

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