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The Pure Element of Time

Haim Be’er
Haim Be’er’s new book is a flawless combination of autobiography and novel about a writer’s development. With his talent for description, his profound psychological insights and his rich writing style, Be’er turns the story of his life and the lives of his parents into a complex, gripping work of art.
Haim was born in an old Jerusalem neighborhood, the only child of an orthodox family in Jerusalem at the end of the British Mandate and the beginning of the State of Israel that defied the stereoytpe of a religious Jewish family. The boy, who inherited an aesthetic sense from his parents and grew up to be a poet and novelist, seeks in this book to reconstruct his parents’ personalities, their peculiar relationship, and their influence upon him as a man and as an artist.
The book is built as a triptych, in which the two end panels frame the principal scene. The first part deals mainly with the character of the grandmother, a kind of living archive of the family’s history as well as a natural storyteller whose tales entrance her grandson. The third part takes place mostly after the father’s death, and depicts the author’s first steps as a writer. The central and main part, deals with Be’er’s childhood and adolescence and the story of his parents’ marriage - a second and late marriage for both, to which each brought a difficult and bitter burden from the past. Their relationship is a web of contrasts - between the Jerusalem-born woman, who is revealed to be independent, courageous, wise and amazingly clear-headed, and the older man, a defeated and withdrawn refugee from the Russian pogroms, who lives a life repression and pretence, but mainly of contradiction between his attachment to a religious lifestyle and his conviction that there is no God. 
The most significant relationship is between the boy and his mother, with whom he forms an alliance (also against the father) which is never broken. Be’er’s mother is the real heroine of this book: she shaped her son’s personality and set him on his path as a writer.      

This robust and complex novel is an outstanding and unparalleled piece of work. 

A fascinating and complex literary statement. Be’er offers us a rich variety of literary possibilities that investigate how identities are shaped... The novel has a fascinating linguistic approach. It is written as a kind of pastiche of different styles, creating a strong effect of stylization that continually questions its own authority.
Herald Tribune (Israel) 
A wonderful book - deep and wise, ripe and complex, that reverberates with interesting and beautiful subject matter.
Kol Israel Radio 
I read this book with great delight.
Iton Tel Aviv 
Title The Pure Element of Time
Author’s Last Name Be’er
Author's First Name Haim
Language(s) English, German, Italian, Dutch, Chinese
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Am Oved
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 1998
Year of Publication 2 (Hebrew) 2017
No. Pages 332 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Chavalim
Representation Represented by ITHL


Dutch: Amsterdam, Vasallucci, 2000
German: Munich, dtv, 2000
English: Hanover/London, Brandeis University Press/ University Press of New England, 2003
Italian: Florence, Giuntina, 2005
Chinese: Shanghai, Shanghai Translation, 2010
"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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