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The Holy Land Sets Sail

Hagai Dagan
The Holy Land Sets Sail is first and foremost a love song to this small but very vibrant country. That Israel may only exist in old songs and memories, but they come to the fore as the country loses its direction. They also flood Elad, the protagonist, on his way to a class reunion at his kibbutz. He is hoping to meet his highschool sweetheart, 'Violetta,' and his longing for her fuses with his nostalgia for the Israel-that-was.
But this class reunion ends abruptly. A violent earth­quake cracks open the Syrian-African Rift, cuts Israel off from the mainland-and from its heavy history—and sends it sailing across the sea. Together with Elad are Chasia, a Holocaust survivor haunted by fear, but also clairvoyant; Re'ut, a young tour guide from the West Bank, who has an erotic love for the land, and Zuckerman, an ex-Orthodox insurance salesman bent on making a fortune off the crisis. When Israel, "exhausted, worn out, bedraggled by history," finally drops anchor off the coast of Norway, it must study itself anew and try to redefine its identity.

This is a book that refutes all the apocalyptic prophecies foreseeing the decline of Israeli literature. It has a rich and condensed texture … and wonderful descriptions of Israel's landscape … articulated in a personal voice, laden with innocent, humoristic memories and free of any pretension or pretense.



Hagai Dagan is not a writer to avoid exploring new territory or traveling through time, nor is he an author who submits to the dictates of political correctness. His novels deal with journeys that seek to illuminate Israeli reality, as well as imagine its liberation from the social and ideological shackles that may restrict, censor or paralyze it. His new book continues this exploration boldly … This is a lovely and turbulent novel.



This is a rich, farsighted and unpretentious novel … a surprising and powerful apocalyptic novel. 

Hadshot Hadera


Hagai Dagan is not trying to tell a science-fictional catastrophe story. His book … stirs us on the allegorical-fantastic level.

Makor Rishon


Hagai Dagan has written a successful paraphrase on José Saramago's book The Stone Raft and like him, blurred the limit between fantasy and reality … This personal, small and reflective story develops into a powerful and enthralling book.

Pnai Plus


Dagan's idea is excellent.

Kol HaZman


Dagan The Holy Land Sets Sail
Title The Holy Land Sets Sail
Author’s Last Name Dagan
Author's First Name Hagai
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Xargol/ Am Oved
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2007
No. Pages 180 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Ha-Aretz Shata
Representation Represented by ITHL


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