Home  \  Authors  \  Authors  \  Itamar Levy  \ 

Letters of the Sun, Letters of the Moon

Itamar Levy
Few novels have been written about life in the shadow of the Intifada, and of those, Letters of the Sun, Letters of the Moon is particularly innovative. Itamar Levy has chosen a unique approach: he sees the events through the eyes of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy, Jaafar Omar Ismail Zakkut. Jaafar can neither read nor write. Presumably his school has been closed by the military authorities, and Jaafar teaches himself the Arabic alphabet in the course of the novel, each of whose chapters bears the name of each letter he masters. Jaafar's father is the number-one ice-cream manufacturer in the Middle East, admired for his commercial success and his knowledge of the Koran. But his authority has been crushed by the army, by extremists, by the breakdown of normal Palestinian life. The novel describes the family's downfall, during which Jaafar witnesses his father's murder, and the soldiers shooting and killing his favorite brother. Letters of the Sun, Letters of the Moon is far from being a realistic novel. Apart from many comically exaggerated details, it teems with arcane legends, poetry and preternatural episodes. It seems to be a paradigm of Palestinian legend, as diffuse and enigmatic as foreign perception would have it. Jaafar's imagination moves between magic and experience, maintaining a curious formality of speech, harnessing the tremendous, libidinal, primitive violence of his circumstances, and calling on the poetry of Arab language and tradition.

This is undoubtedly a great novel... This young author succeeds in creating a portrait of rare power. Our first meeting with Itamar Levy really couldn't be more successful.
Il Tempo

A moving novel....No stand is taken, no forgiveness asked. There is merely endless tenderness. The reader will feel a lump in his throat.
Le Nouvel Observateur

A small literary masterpiece and a superior example of tolerance.
Jeune Afrique

Itamar Levy’s novel is complex, enigmatic and as surprising as a mysterious arabesque... It is sad and hurts and haunts you. The reader has to return to this book, read it over and over again.

Partial English translation available (for publishers only)

Letters of the Sun, Letters of the Moon
Title Letters of the Sun, Letters of the Moon
Author’s Last Name Levy
Author's First Name Itamar
Language(s) Hebrew, German, French, Italian, Spanish
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Keter
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 1991
No. Pages 165 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Otiyot Ha-Shemesh, Otiyot Ha-Yare'ach
Representation Represented by ITHL


Italian: Milan, Bompiani, 1993; pback, 2000
Spanish: Barcelona, Circulo de Lectores, 1996
French: Arles, Actes Sud, 1997
German: Frankfurt, Surkhamp, 1997
Congratulations to Barabara Harshav for the 2018 PEN Medal for Translation!
The prize is given to a translator whose career has demonstrated a commitment to excellence through the body of their work. Barbara Harshav has been translating works from French, German, Hebrew and Yiddish for over twenty years and has currently published over forty books of translation. Among the many Hebrew authors she has translated: Yoram Kaniuk, Agnon, Yehudit Hendel, Yehuda Amichai and many more.
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.
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!