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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
Congratulations to Barabara Harshav for the 2018 PEN Medal for Translation!
The prize is given to a translator whose career has demonstrated a commitment to excellence through the body of their work. Barbara Harshav has been translating works from French, German, Hebrew and Yiddish for over twenty years and has currently published over forty books of translation. Among the many Hebrew authors she has translated: Yoram Kaniuk, Agnon, Yehudit Hendel, Yehuda Amichai and many more.
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!
Congratulations to Ronit Matalon, the recipient of the 2017 Brenner prize for her book 'And the Bride Closed the Door". And, congratulations to Amir ziv, the recipent of the first ever Brenner prize for debut novels.
Ronit Matalon's book tells the story of Margie, a young bride, who shuts herself up in her mother's bedroom and declares that she won’t get married. Her family gathers at the locked door, not knowing what to do. Amir Ziv tells a story that begins as an apparently routine correspondence between a prying citizen, secretly in love with his neighbor, and a conscientious municipal clerk, and developes into an uncovering of a great underlying drama.
The fourth German-Hebrew/Hebrew-German translation workshop April 29 to May 5, 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: Sunday, April 29, 2018 until Saturday, May 5, 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".

Congratulations to Zeruya Shalev and Shifra Horn for receiving the 2017 Adei Wizo Prize.

Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's "Waking Lions" is longlisted for the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award
Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's "Waking Lions" is longlisted for the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award! The books on the longlist are selected by 400 libraries worldwide. Titles are nominated on the basis of ‘high literary merit’ as determined by the nominating library.
Yitzchak Mayer's personal website goes live
English edition of Yitzchak Mayer's amazing "Silent Letter" is about to come out with Mosaic Press. Learn more about the author's incredible life story on his brand new website.
MHL - New webzine starting soon!