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Zeruya Shalev

"GOLDEN" BOOK 2016 - More than 20,000 copies sold in Israel

Ten years after she was seriously injured in a terrorist attack, the pain comes back to torment Iris, the heroine of Zeruya Shalev’s new novel. But that is not all: Eitan, the love of her youth also comes back into her life. And although their relationship ended many years ago, she was more deeply wounded when he left her than by the suicide bomber who blew himself up next to her.
Iris’s marriage is stalled. Her two children have grown up and are almost independent; she herself has become a dedicated, successful school principal. But now, after years of living without passion and joy, Eitan brings them back into her life. Unhappily, she must concoct all sorts of lies to conceal her love from her family, and the lies become more and more complicated. But can one ever restore the love of one’s youth?
Iris is in an impossible predicament, and in order to decide she tries to fathom whether her love with Eitan can heal all her pain, and more essentially, whether in the process she would have to hurt the people who are closest to her.


A great book, that ends with a therapeutic catharsis.

Author Amos Oz


The original, complex and subversive nature of Shalev’s new novel emerges when we examine the way she treats the issue of pain in its literary-national context … Shalev submits to familiar paths in order to disrupt them from the inside and to change their direction and their destination. And she does this like a virtuoso, soaring but also meticulous, on the levels of both the structure and the style, as befits a great writer.

Prof. Yigal Schwartz, Haaretz

Intense, clever, funny, absolutely remarkable… A great love story… A masterpiece. It’s an outstanding book, clever, subtle.

Michel Crépu for “Le Masque et La Plume”, Radio France Inter

Written in one breath… Under cover of the intimate there is a political message.



Zeruya Shalev does not merely weave a variation on the eternal dilemma between heart and reason. This captivating novel, between suffering and grace, is also a brilliant reflection on the dominance of the past over the present, of the ideal over the real, of the couple over the individual. It resonates like an allegory of Israel, the duty and destiny for its hectic children.



“Pain” is a book that is both totally universal and absolutely feminine… Zeruya Shalev writes in a superb language.

Le Figaro Magazine

For the Israeli novelist, writing is first of all listening to her characters. "Pain” is an admirable testament to that…  It is, among a thousand other things, an astonishing reflection on second chances and on obsession with the past.

Le Monde

Great literary pleasure… [Shalev’s] fifth novel confirms once again the immense talent of this writer. Intense and masterful…  And this is the strength of Zeruya Shalev, to steer her narrative ceaselessly towards new horizons.

La Semaine

A majestic novel… Zeruya Shalev knows how to paint gracefully the fragility of a family, and of love.


Incredibly intimate…Rare and difficult as all that is beautiful.


Great Israeli author… [This book is] a turning point in her career.
The wizard that is Zeruya Shalev transforms unresolved mourning and unrecognized wounds into a rebirth.

Livres Hebdo

We are shaken and fascinated at the same time, dazzled by the masterful narration of this major writer.


A great book that speaks about pain, terrorism and the state called Israel… Magnificent. 


From the great Israeli writer, a novel that searches through the cracks in our souls. The quest for the origin of unhappiness.

Elena Stancanelli, D la Repubblica

In an ironic paradox (this magnificent book is full of irony), it is pain that induces Iris to open the drawers that have been locked for too many years. …Shalev writes in a free, sensual, impetuous, sometimes excessive manner… Convalescence (the end of pain) makes existence full and delicious.

Corriere della Sera

As a true archaeologist of the soul, Zeruya Shalev does neglects no thought.

La Stampa

[Shalev's] fiction is within the best Israeli contemporary novel tradition that […] almost always circumvents and circumnavigates the country's political situation, preferring to reflect it in its own protagonists' worries, mourning, and domestic and private events.

…Her voice and her way of composing stories remain unique.

Melania Mazzucco, La Repubblica


Zeruya Shalev is without doubt the great novelist of Israeli bourgeois drama. In rich language, seasoned with psychological insights, she captures the hearts of the readers with tales of a normative family that is fractured over and over because of a lack of emotional satisfaction … Shalev writes lush prose ... This novel, like its predecessors, is written in a realistic style and creates a splendid narrative amplitude … It’s easy to be swept away into Pain because Shalev is a skilled professional, fully cognizant of the craft of writing.


Zeruya Shalev does what she does best: telling family tales of love, of redemption and of disillusion, rich in emotional strength, inviting the reader to be swallowed up by the story and giving a sense of purification when it is over … Something in the familiarity of the story and the dramas that occur in it, and the manner in which it is resolved, creates a sense of intimacy… The novel celebrates pain and sheds light on its role in emotional life. 



In this book Zeruya Shalev demonstrates again her ability to play fast and loose with the reader’s expectations … In Shalev’s generous and cruel treatment, pain and the love of the past are not easily overcome so that the reader may experience catharsis, but are rather concrete… Shalev demonstrates a brave and meaningful ability to address pain with such force that the reader feels as if the world were devoid of everything but pain … She enables readers to touch their own pain, thereby granting them the most genuine pleasure that literature can bestow. 


The terrible physical pain is joined by spiritual pain … These two types of pain receive Zeruya Shalev’s well-known treatment, which arouses new admiration time and again. In each new book Shalev manages to dismantle human emotions into particles and to touch on exposed nerves. 

Yedioth Ahronoth

Zeruya Shalev is the doyenne of female writers in Hebrew today … Shalev is also the most successful female Hebrew writer abroad, particularly in France and Germany. It will be interesting to see what becomes of this book and to what new peaks it will take Shalev once it is translated.



Entering a narrative and emotional arena such as this demands courage… When Shalev chooses to depict a Jerusalem heroine who has been wounded in a terrorist bombing, she presents herself as someone writing from the depth of her heart - a reliable and unpretentious explorer of emotional life. 

Yedioth Ahronoth

This lovely novel touches on different core aspects of life in Israel in the 2000’s. This is a wonderful, cleansing book. Run and buy it.


Shalev’s fifth novel explores the meaning of living in Israel. It is her best so far. The book is written with the rare emotional intensity that Shalev’s prose is known for.
Der Spiegel

The book - in an excellent translation of Mirjam Pressler -  (…) wants to be discovered and explored slowly, it rewards the patience of the audience with amazing insight into the inner workings of the heroine.

Münchner Merkur 

With a dramatic Hollywood like trick Shalev combines the physical with the mental worst case scenario.

Nordwest Zeitung / Ostfriesen Zeitung

In the latest work of Israeli author Zeruya Shalev a married woman and survivor of a terrorist attack meets her old high school sweetheart. She is ready to do and to risk everything for him.


It is as if Zeruya Shalev perfoms magic with her writing. Her words are magic and seem to have an hypnotic effect when you read them. “Pain” is an extraordinary, poetic novel, at the end everything turns out differently than you think.


Shalev simply knows how to write.

The works of Zeruya Shalev always emanate something unswerving, unfaltering, even obstinate … at first PAIN seems to be a typical Shalev novel. But … this time it is not only about guilt that accompanies almost every new love among adults but also about the necessity or even gratification of letting go, of renunciation. In the end, Iris might prove to be the most mature protagonist Shalev has created so far.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Powerfully eloquent - no one is capable of putting anger and female abysses in words like the Israeli Zeruya Shalev. Her new novel PAIN will be published September 14th – a fierce/severe love story.


Title Pain
Author’s Last Name Shalev
Author's First Name Zeruya
Language(s) Hebrew, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Polish, Romanian
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Keter
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2015
No. Pages 287 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Ke'ev
Representation Represented by ITHL


German: Berlin, Berlin Verlag, 2015; audio: Hamburg, OSTERWOLDaudio bei Hörbuch, 2015; Frankfurt am Main/Zurich, Buchergilde Gutenberg, 2016; pback: Berlin, Berlin Verlag, 2016
French: Paris, Gallimard, 2017
Romanian: Bucharest, Polirom, 2016
Polish: Warsaw, WAB, 2016
Dutch: Amsterdam, Cossee, 2016
ItalianFeltrinelli, 2016; pback, 2018

Chinese: Beijing, People's Literature, forthcoming

Portuguese: Amadora, 2020/Elsinore, forthcoming

Turkish: Istanbul, Alkarga, forthcoming

Russian: Sinbad, Moscow, forthcoming 
[Next Novel]

German: Berlin Verlag / Piper, forthcoming
French: Paris, Gallimard, forthcoming

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!