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The Love Peddlers

Yossi Avni-Levy

A couple returns to their apartment in Tel Aviv with a tiny baby wrapped in a blanket. They are welcomed by the grandmother who showers them with candies and the grandfather who heaps blessings upon them. Far away, in time and space, a frightened, handsome Jewish lad sets out on the journey of his life, a journey to the maze of alleys of the legendary city of Herat in Afghanistan. What is the thread that connects the boy slipping away from school so that he can watch the dancers in their colorful garb cavorting in the marketplaces, to Assaf, an Israeli professor of linguistics, a gay man, a new father, who wants to be reconciled with his own father?

Yossi Avny-Levy’s novel is an emotional confession of a father to his newly born first son who embodies a mixture of different cultures, an intimate confession through which he tries to trace his own identity. Assaf unfolds the saga of his family, beginning in Afghanistan in the 1940s, and reveals the story of his father and in particular the story of his father’s younger brother, Assaf’s uncle, who was a dancer in the Herat marketplaces and a lover of a Pashtun man.

It is a book that is both sad and amusing, a powerful and humane love story which will resonate all around the globe – a constricted, unspoken love between a son and his father, an unrestrained love of a child for his mother, and a tortuous love between two fathers. It is also a story of love for a world that is no more, for its colors and fragrances, studded with characters who are both delightful and heart-breaking. In his inimitable and sensual language, Avni-Levy leads the reader through the poverty-stricken and yet magnificent streets of a dusty Israeli town of the 1960s to the picturesque streets of a remote city in Afghanistan, where humans and demons live side by side.




This is a book loaded with colors and sounds, flavors and smells, devils, women and men. Very far from the here and now, but so close. 

Author Amos Oz


A book written in the heart’s blood, in which a wealth of imagination, talent and love has been invested. Yossi Avni-Levy leads his readers with a sure step into the world he has created, and he masters its details amazingly. I laughed, I shed tears, I was astonished, I was captivated. Enjoy it yourselves, and share it with people you love.

Author Judith Katzir


There’s no-one in contemporary Hebrew literature who writes like Avni-Levy. His latest book supplied me, as a reader, with rare pleasure in two ways: On the one hand, there’s intimate, down-home prose, replete with nuance, about the joys of fatherhood and the anxieties that accompany it. On the other hand it is a journey abounding in inspiration and imagination away from home, country and this time to a chapter in Jewish history that I wasn’t familiar with. 

Author Eshkol Nevo

I strongly recommend this book. From the moment I began reading it, I found it hard to put it down. The plot is sweeping, surprising, and particularly piercing ... A moving, rich, even suspenseful book ... opens a window into a mysterious and faraway land and the hidden life that takes place there.

Journalist Nitzan Horowitz


Written with pain and humor, sensuality and generosity, and mainly for the love of human kind and love of the written word. The book sweeps the reader into a journey to the past, to Afghanistan so different from the familiar news articles, the childhood neighborhood in Israel and its difficulties, the journey of fatherhood and the journey inside. Highly recommended!

Author Esty G. Hayim


There are books that can not be read quickly. Even if you try, you will not succeed. Such is the book of Yossi Avni-Levy ... Yossi Avni-Levy is a wizard storyteller. The images, the descriptions, the rich writing, make the reader plunge deep into a dream. When I read the book I felt as though I was walking though the square and in the alleys of the market myself ... I felt the figures present in front of me.

Meira Barnea Goldberg, Melabes


The novel arouses interest and intrigues … It touches deep sores, and kneads  them … It is written in a feverish storm … Contemporary Israeli literature is not accustomed to a style such as this, and from this point of view reading it feels different, and sometimes also rewarding.

Omri Herzog, Haaretz

Avni-Levy is not satisfied with the clichés and the usual whining about the difficulties of parenthood and of infinite love, the one that is so familiar and so addictive. The Love Peddlers plunges into the depths of these relationships in an exposing, reflexive way, which I have never before encountered in literature, certainly not from fathers. I found myself fascinated by the charm of the book, its sincerity and depth, and also the scented aromas that emerge from it, which are a charming and enchanting setting ... Few men struggle as fathers so profoundly and deeply.

Darya Maoz, Israel Hayom


Enchanting, enchanting, enchanting, recommended!

Yoav Ginai, Kol Israel 2


A book that touches the heart. It takes on many different subjects, each one of which could be the subject of a book… Avni-Levi skillfully shares his feelings as a story teller, his fears and his doubts, with us … Colorful and sensual characters send our imaginations flying afar … I liked Avni-Levi’s book because of the integrity of it, the feeling that he is spilling out his guts … I enjoyed the read, which wove the story within my imagination in colors and aromas from remote, different worlds.

Rachel Amitai, Saloona

Title The Love Peddlers
Author’s Last Name Avni-Levy
Author's First Name Yossi
Language(s) Hebrew
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Kinneret, Zmora-Bitan
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2016
No. Pages 381 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Rochlei Ha-Ahavot
Representation Represented by ITHL
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The fourth German-Hebrew/Hebrew-German translation workshop April 29 to May 5, 2018 Beit Ben-Yehuda, Jerusalem
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In co-operation with KulturKontakt Austria, the Austrian Federal Chancellery makes available 50 residencies to visual artists / art photographers / composers / video and media artists / writers / literary translators and arts and cultural educators in Vienna and Salzburg for the year 2018. For more details:
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