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The Grand Circus of Ideas

Miki Ben-Cnaan
Two aging women are found dead in a surrealistic old-age home in Jerusalem. One, a resident, is wearing a tattered elephant costume; next to her, an unknown woman is dressed up as a doll, in a frock with golden buttons and patent leather shoes. Although the cause of death is clear—asphyxiation from a gas heater—no one can explain why they look like they have just run away from a circus. Thus begins a gripping mystery, the story of four residents who met in the home fifteen years earlier and established a choir, which inspired them and gave their lives new meaning. As the enterprise progresses, with songs ranging from Israeli classics to weird and charming rap, we hear their tragic yet miraculous life stories, full of twists, turns and magical realism which takes us back to the madness and radicalism of the 20th century. One woman was sent to the gas chambers as a child, but was saved by her elephant costume and a flock of crows that lifted her into the air and carried her away from the inferno. Another resident is a lapsed monk who has strange visions. An amazing novel, in which the taken-for-granted becomes miraculous, and the surreal—flying elephants, chairs sprouting from a cherry tree—seems plausible. All together form colorful links suggesting the continuity of human memory based on great ideologies that either propel humanity forward or shatter it.

A book like this should be greeted with cheers... Ben-Cnaan stretches the imagination in an awe-inspiring way.

Gripping. A superb, intriguing story... There is something hypnotic in Ben-Caan's writing.

Imagination, daring, and a great deal of originality.
Time Out

Title The Grand Circus of Ideas
Author’s Last Name Ben-Cnaan
Author's First Name Miki
Language(s) Hebrew, Italian
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Achuzat Bayit
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2011
No. Pages 422
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Ha-Kirkas Ha-Gadol Shel Ha-Raʹayonot
Representation Represented by ITHL


Italian: Florence, Giuntina, 2014
"An original, extraordinary book" The Brenner prize committee
Congratulations to Noga Albalach, winner of the 2018 Brenner prize for her book "The Old Man (Farewell)".
Residencies in Vienna and Salzburg
In co-operation with KulturKontakt Austria, the Austrian Federal Chancellery offers 50 residencies in Vienna and Salzburg for the year 2019. Applications can be submitted for literature, literature for children and young adults and literary translations. Please note the deadline of September 30th, 2018.
Call for applications English speakers: Stay culture in Paris (deadline: June 12th, 2018)
Details in the attached link
Congratulations to Sami Berdugo and Shoham Smith, recipients of the 2018 Bialik Prize, one of the most prestigious literary prizes in Israel!

The Ministry of Culture and Sport announced the names of the winners of the Arik Einstein Veterans Artists Prize.
A prize of 50,000 NIS was given to each of the 21 artists who worked and are still working to promote Israeli culture in various fields -Music, dance, theater, plastic arts, cinema and literature. In the literature category the winners were Ronny Someck, Jacob Buchan and Shlomit Cohen-Assif. Also, Anat Masiach is among the recipient of the prize for debut literary works. Congratulations!
The fourth German-Hebrew/Hebrew-German translation workshop November 4th to 10th, 2018 Beit Ben-Yehuda, Jerusalem
After workshops in Berlin, Jerusalem and Straelen, the workshop will return to Jerusalem this spring. This workshop will focus on the participants translations. These are unfinished translations that have not yet been published. These will be sent to all participants. The workshop is open to 10 participants and is intended for literary translators with experience and publications. Workshop facilitators: Anne Birkenhauer and Gadi Goldberg Prerequisites: At least one published translation Duration: November 4th 2018 until November 10th, 2018 Location: Beit Ben-Yehuda, 28 Ein Gedi St., 93383 Jerusalem Participation fee: Participation (Accommodation and meals) is free of charge. Travel / flight expenses will be refunded. For more details and for the documents required for submitting application: Anne Birkenhauer, and Gadi Goldberg,
Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's "Waking Lions" is one of the 100 notable books of 2017 of the "New York Times".

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