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Soup

Yoav Alvin
The novella and four stories in this first book by Yoav Alvin form a skilful, mature work that deals with the connection between life and aesthetics, between the ability to procreate and the ability to create through language. Alvin succeeds wonderfully in penetrating a woman's mind and expressing himself through her; he demonstrates great empathy for women, revealing a preference, both moral and aesthetic, for motherhood and femininity over fatherhood and masculinity. In the central novella, Soup, Sima, a divorced language teacher, is confined to a mental hospital. She takes a vow of silence, and instead of speaking to the people around her she carries on soulful conversations with her reflection in a bowl of steaming soup. The reader learns that Sima is barren as a result of a hysterectomy. She has abandoned ordinary society and joined the 'abnormal', because she sees herself as defective. In the end, however, she finds love among the insane, in the arms of an amputee who speaks broken Hebrew. In the other stories Alvin writes from the point of view of a man or youth named Yoav (like himself). In the prologue he witnesses an act of violence - a man murdering his wife, but instead of helping he telephones his language teacher, also named Sima. This raises the vital question of the status of the writer, who observes life from afar, his alienation stemming from his involvement with words. This tension is brilliantly revealed in the fantastic prologue in which Dora, the narrator`s wife, daily "gives birth" to a flower through her anus. Dora is a second generation Holocaust survivor, and this splendid flower, emerging from the lowliest place in her body, is a gesture to the Holocaust. Among other things, Dora, who can give birth to nothing but flowers, is the antithesis of the warm, loving mother, immortalized in the descriptions of childhood in Jerusalem, the author's birthplace.


Partial English translation available (for publishers only)



Soup
Title Soup
Author’s Last Name Alvin
Author's First Name Yoav
Genre novella & stories
Publisher (Hebrew) Keter
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2002
No. Pages 262 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Marak
Representation Represented by ITHL

Translations

 
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