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"Exhilarating . . . How often can you say about a harrowing, unquiet book that it makes you wrestle with your soul?" ŚNeel Mukherjee, The Times (London)
It's 1948 and the Arab villagers of Khirbet Khizeh are about to be violently expelled from their homes. A young Israeli soldier who is on duty that day finds himself battling on two fronts: with the villagers and, ultimately, with his own conscience.
Published just months after the founding of the state of Israel and the end of the 1948 war, the novella Khirbet Khizeh was an immediate sensation when it first appeared. Since then, the book has continued to challenge and disturb, even finding its way onto the school curriculum in Israel. The various debates it has prompted would themselves make Khirbet Khizeh worth reading, but the novella is much more than a vital historical document: it is also a great work of art. Yizhar's haunting, lyrical style and charged view of the landscape are in many ways as startling as his wrenchingly honest view of modern Israel's primal scene.
Considered a modern Hebrew masterpiece, Khirbet Khizeh is an extraordinary and heartbreaking book that is destined to be a classic of world literature.
S. Yizhar was the pen name of Yizhar Smilansky, born in Rehovot, Palestine, in 1916. A longtime member of the Knesset, he is most famous as the author of Khirbet Khizeh and the untranslated magnum opus Days of Ziklag. He died in 2006. Nicholas de Lange is Professor of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at Cambridge University and has translated many Hebrew novels, including Preliminaries by S. Yizhar (2007). Yaacob Dweck has previously translated Haim Sabato’s The Dawning of the Day (2006). David Shulman teaches Sanskrit and other Indian languages at the Hebrew University. He has published numerous books and is the author of Dark Hope: Working for Peace in Israel and Palestine (2007). Shulman was named a MacArthur Fellow in 1987.