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The Mina Lisa

Orly Castel-Bloom
Orly Castel-Bloom's imagination and humor are wilder than ever in this third novel, drawing the readers into fantastic adventures in a world of twisted logic. Everything, however, begins in a typical Israeli setting.
Mina, a happy 38-year-old housewife, looks after her husband Oved, her three children and her home. Enter Flora, her husband's grandmother, who comes to live with them. An old lady like any other? Not quite. Flora throws her food out the window and eats paper instead. More precisely, she devours Mina's screenplays, stashed in drawers, because she is convinced they will never be made into films.
"She has already eaten real masterpieces," Oved tells Mina, revealing that Flora is more than 200 years old. Born in the 18th century in Crete, she has been blessed with longevity for having followed the commandment, 'Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long.' From the moment Flora tastes Mina's screenplays, she cannot eat anything else. When the screenplays are finished, Mina, who has abandoned writing, refuses to supply new ones, and Flora grows weaker.
But when Flora reveals her involvement in the 'Time Police,' Mina complies and returns to writing. The two women fly off on a fanciful journey in time, hoping to discover what became of the 'Time Police' Chief, who was once Flora's lover. They arrive in a world that is a mixture of reality and illusion, where women are chained to their pens and forced to write screenplays. In the end Mina liberates her fellow screenwriters and rescues Flora from a bitter fate. Oved, whose dream has been to hold in his own hands – if only for three seconds – the real, eternal and precious "Mona Lisa," must make do with his own Mina Lisa, who returns to him and to her quiet life. Flora, who has had enough of living, takes her last breath and passes on at the ripe old age of 203.

A brilliant and funny work...the charm of Castel-Bloom's 'fizzy realism'...lies in its direct power.
Author Batya Gur

Brilliant...Orly Castel-Bloom's ambitious and thoughtful sixth book makes you want to read her previous works.

Castel-Bloom is the most controversial writer of her generation, with a fantastic tale, where literary creation plays a major role.
L'Arche (France)

English & Italian translations available (for publishers only)

The Mina Lisa
Title The Mina Lisa
Author’s Last Name Castel-Bloom
Author's First Name Orly
Language(s) German, French, Chinese
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Keter
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 1995
No. Pages 149 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Ha-Mina Lisa
Representation Represented by ITHL


French: Arles, Actes Sud, 1998
Chinese: Beijing, China Social Sciences, 1998
German: Munich, Piper (Malik), 1998
The second edition of the Letters of Israel festival will take place in Paris from September 8 to 18, 2017
After the success of its first edition, the Lettres d'Israël festival is gaining momentum, with an enriched program: meetings, conversations, readings , Theater, major authors and discoveries. Zeruya Shalev, Orly Castel-bloom, Ayelet Gundar-Goshen, Iris Argaman, and many more will participate. Click here for the full program:
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:
Yizhak Mayer: "Meet the Author" Event
Ambassador Yizhak Mayer, author of the moving book “Silent Letter” will hold a “meet the author” event in Netanya. For further info about the event: And for more details about the title click here:
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.
Chana Bloch dies at 77
Chana Bloch, a revered poet and translator from Hebrew and Yiddish, has sadly passed away earlier this month. Among her many remarkable achievements is the wonderful translation of a collection of poems by Dahlia Ravikovitch​ (W. W. Norton & Company). Chana will be greatly missed.
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.
Dayan on feminism and writing
Following the release of "Transitions" in English, Yael Dayan talks to Lilith Magazine about her past aspirations and present pursuits. Click here to read the full interview.
Gundar-Goshen's Op-Ed for Time
To mark the US publication of "Waking Lions" Ayelet Gundar-Goshen talks about the refugee crisis, internal walls and people behind them in the op-ed for Time. Click here to read the article.
MHL - New webzine starting soon!