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Victor and Masha

Alona Kimhi
Victor and Masha, a brother and sister, live with their grandmother Katerina in an immigrant neighborhood near Haifa. The two came to Israel from the Soviet Union with their parents, only to be orphaned in a road accident two years later. After stints at a boarding school, then on a kibbutz, they are finally taken in by their grandmother when she too comes to Israel. It is 1977, and the Labor Party, which has ruled Israel since it was first established, is about to lose its power to the right wing, headed by Menachem Begin. Sixteen-year-old Victor, and Masha, age seventeen, are trying to find their place in a divided, destabilized Israeli society, made up of new immigrants from Eastern Europe, slightly more veteran immigrants from Middle Eastern countries, and veteran Israelis with clear identities and ideals who are gradually losing their dominant position. Kimhi has written a penetrating, critical novel about immigrant life, that brilliantly analyses Israeli society. But it is also the personal story of Victor and Masha, who have an almost symbiotic relationship. Masha, the stronger of the two, is a rebellious, blunt young woman with a strong sense of identity, who guards her independence and rejects any attempt to approach her. Victor is gentle and delicate, eager to integrate and be liked. The closer his friendship—and then love—for his classmate Nimrod, a proud sabra, the weaker his ties with his sister become. But Masha refuses to give up her hold on her brother. Whether it is from a selfishness that interferes with Victor’s happiness or a desire to protect him from inevitable disappointment—either way, she struggles to bring him back to her and restore him to his roots.


In this impressive novel, Alona Kimhi's voice is heard in its full strength and distinction: wise, daring, ironic, funny, and painful.

Author Zeruya Shalev

A terrible novel. Terribly beautiful.
Le Figaro

The book of laughter and oblivion… [Written with] joyous ferocity. With – and this is where Kimhi’s ingenuity lies – electric sensitivity coursing through the text.

Fascinating, captivating and original characters … Alona Kimchi delights fearlessly in the deviations, weaknesses and vices of her characters and also enables them to embark on marvelous literary moments that pluck them out of the dour neighborhood without a hint of affectation … Kimhi’s characters are always sexy, full of vitality, and very convincing … A wonderful novel.

An amazing novel … The characters are complex, beautiful and colorful in their otherness … To my mind, the book’s great achievement lies in the unique voice, so rare in Hebrew, that Kimhi has given the Russian narrator … a beautiful, biting, ironic voice that is in itself  almost a symphony… The realistic depiction is absolutely Chekhovian … This is without any doubt the best book about immigrants written here in many decades … It shakes off clichés, breaks down conventions and builds worlds with great self-discipline yet impressive linguistic freedom. It is impossible not to fall in love with both Victor and Masha, and certainly with the amazing voice that guides them.

Kimhi’s new novel is also her best ... It contains the first encounter of its kind with the stories of Russian immigrants. It is also an honest tale of adolescence, beauty and cruelty and it stays with you long after you’ve finished reading it.

Kimhi continues to take an interest in characters that are fragile and vulnerable, but also have an open and self-aware dimension of evil, violence and selfishness. This, to my mind, her great strength as an author.
Yedioth Ahronoth 

A lovely, delicate novel that elicits identification by everyone who has (and who hasn’t?) experienced detachment and alienation from his or her surroundings.

There is a kind of depth of the everyday that reaches into the mazes of the soul. This book is of exceptionally high quality,  very reminiscent of great European, Russian literature.

A sweeping, earthy novel that shows a reality that we thought we knew well in a sober and disturbing light.

One of the most beautiful books I have read this year ... The grandmother, Katarina, is one of the most riveting characters created in local literature.

Title Victor and Masha
Author’s Last Name Kimhi
Author's First Name Alona
Language(s) Hebrew, French, Portuguese
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Keter
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2012
No. Pages 364
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Victor U-Masha
Representation Represented by ITHL


French: Paris, Gallimard, 2015
Portuguese: Lisbon, Porto, 2016
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.
Call for application: Artists in Residence Programme in Austria. Please note the deadline: September 18th, 2017.
In co-operation with KulturKontakt Austria, the Austrian Federal Chancellery makes available 50 residencies to visual artists / art photographers / composers / video and media artists / writers / literary translators and arts and cultural educators in Vienna and Salzburg for the year 2018. For more details:
ITHL director on Grossman's win
"Grossman winning is not only his own achievement, but the achievement of the Hebrew literature as a whole", - Nilli Cohen on the first Hebrew author to receive Man Booker International Prize. Click here for the full article in Hebrew.
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!