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Piano in Winter

Ayelet Shamir
It all happens at Joe's Piano Bar in a small village in the north of Israel. On a cold and stormy night in December, Joe Ochana, an aging ex-seaman, is working at the bar; with him are his pianist, a weary and frustrated man, and a young Arab kitchen worker, Fadil. A party of six-four go-getting young men and two women-stop there on their way back to Tel Aviv. It is getting late. Joe wants to close his bar and go home, but the guests insist on having a drink. Outside, it is raining hard and inside, with or without strong drinks, a quarrel breaks out, awakening the sleeping demons of Israeli society-the tension between prosperous urbanites and underprivileged periphery, Jews and Arabs, women and men. But no one suspects how this dark night will end.
Piano in Winter is an almost cinematographic drama, that skillfully builds up the tension between the varied, sharply etched characters. What emerges from Shamir's powerful writing, as it shifts from soft piano music to a fist in the stomach, is the Israeli condition-a story of men who do not give in.
By dawn the entire bar is in ruins. Fadil is rushed unconscious to hospital and the others go home. The night has come to an end, but the memory of it will remain. As does the major question in the book: could things have been different?
Piano in Winter won the Wiener Prize for Original Writing.

Built like a piece of music … This debut novel so accomplished, so well controlled, it looks like a classic … Has a place between Greek tragedy, Albert Camus and Jean Genet.

Matricule des anges                                              


Ayelet Shamir has written a rare and very powerful first novel. Harsh, slashing, without any niceties, she explores Israeli society in the grip of tensions between rich and poorer, men and women, Jews and Arabs … A modern drama with a tense melody that gets ever louder.                                                                        


I found myself helpess under the whip of [Shamir’s] language … This is an authentic Greek tragedy … The last movement of this symphony bursts out with Wagnerian force, leaving a deafening silence in its wake.


A remarkable first novel that deals with the paradoxes tearing apart Israeli society.


This interior novel shows amazing mastery and flow … It has a musical lexicon – couterpoint, chamber music, the right tone.


Piano in Winter is a very rich book ... a dramatic human encounter that exposes the participants' psychology with great skill, layer after layer, charging the conflict with painful, tragic meaning.
Author Abraham B.Yehoshua

A tough and very masculine story about urges and violence ... [It is] like a film camera moving from zoom-in to panoramic long-shot ... It creates moments of beauty ... yet also exposes [a world] behind our mediocre, sane existence, that is teeming with sinister elements.

This beautiful, disturbing book is a condensed, breathtaking drama without anything we are accustomed to expect from 'women's literature' ... Even the Hebrew is masculine: wonderful, rich, but at the same time composed and measured.

A daring and disturbing novel ... It reveals some of the darkest secrets of male intimacy and explores the anxiety and aggression that control it.

Piano in Winter
Title Piano in Winter
Author’s Last Name Shamir
Author's First Name Ayelet
Language(s) Hebrew, French
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Am Oved
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2007
No. Pages 315 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Psanter Ba-Choref
Representation Represented by ITHL


French: Paris, Christian Bourgois, 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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