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Donʹt Call Me Job

Yossl Birstein
Don’t Call Me Job takes an ironic, gently humorous and compassionate view of the biblical story. Rather than stressing the pain of Job, the icon of intense suffering, Birstein reveals that the strains of Job's lament can be heard in the most mundane and even fortunate lives.
A five-hour meeting in Jerusalem between three men – two old friends and a relative stranger – is the physical setting of the story, but the plot concerns long periods in the lives of the protagonists and of other characters. The three men are the narrator, his childhood friend, Shlomo Shapira – who survived an impoverished childhood in Poland to become a millionaire in Australia and then settled in Jerusalem – and the locksmith, Henrik Daddon. Shapira calls Daddon to change the locks in his Jerusalem house so that his wife, Orna, who has abandoned him and has a habit of returning unexpectedly, will not be able to enter.
During the hours the three spend in Shapira's spacious living room, he attempts to set up a date between Daddon and Geula, the woman carrying his child. Their talk drifts to Orna, who lives suspended between her former incarnations, detached from her present life, and to Zalman Rokman, a young Orthodox leader who severed all ties with his past. There is also William Waddle, the Australian miner who devotes himself to finding gold, without realizing that its pursuit has become the focus of his life. There are also the narrator's father, who lives in the world of ghosts and spirits, and Geula, who links sex and money to satisfy Shapira’s perverse desires.
During this meeting, the narrator warns Shlomo Shapira that he will be plagued with Job's anguish. In fact, Shapira is a man who abolishes the divisions between love and hate, money and death, good and bad – until he brings disaster upon himself. Though he does not want to be called Job, he cannot stop longing for new beginnings.

Don't Call Me Job is a rare feast - a feast of excellent comic-grotesque observation of people, their appearance and obsessions, a feast of dramatic occurrences which stretch the plot to its limits across three continents and some sixty years, and a strange realism shadowed by the fantastic.
Critic Menachem Perry

It doesn't happen often that you finish reading a book and feel a great sense of deprivation... Every minor figure in Don't Call Me Job deserves a novel of its own.

Birstein's strength lies in his power of observation, his original depiction of characters and conditions, his rich descriptions of ordinary, accidental human situations, which often conclude with a statement that is surprising, witty, wise and humorous.
Yedioth Ahronoth

English translation available (for publishers only)

Birstein Don't Call Me Job
Title Don`t Call Me Job
Author’s Last Name Birstein
Author's First Name Yossl
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Hakibbutz Hameuchad/ Siman Kriah
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 1996
No. Pages 164 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Al Tikra Li Iyov
Representation Represented by ITHL


"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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