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An Egyptian Novel

The protagonist has Egyptian roots going back many generations: on her father’s side, to the expulsion of the Jews of Spain in 1492 when seven brothers of the Kastil family, from Castilla, landed on the Gaza coast after many trials and tribulations. Her mother’s side goes back even further – 3,000 years before that – for she is a descendant of the only family that Jewish history has ignored: the one that said ‘No’ to Moses and stayed in Egypt. This family migrated to Israel in the 1950s and settled on a kibbutz, but they were soon expelled for Stalinism, and moved to Tel Aviv.
Mixing historical and biographical facts, made-up legends plus other fictions and exaggerations, Castel-Bloom writes an unconventional saga of her family, the Kastils. As in other sagas, there are family meals and get-togethers, deaths and funerals, sayings and stories, and things that are not to be mentioned because they disgrace the family. But here these elements all slip and slide sideways into parody and the absurd.
In this colorful book, a series of deaths becomes truly comic. But ultimately, it is about ruin, the downfall of ideals and great dreams, and the irrelevance of innocence in Israel today. With great daring, Castel-Bloom takes her enormous talent to new heights.

Chinese, English, French, Italian, Russian
Title An Egyptian Novel
Writer's Last Name Castel-Bloom
Writer's First Name Orly
Genre Fiction
Publisher (Hebrew) Hakibbutz Hameuchad
No. Pages 180pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Ha-Roman Ha-Mitzri
  • “In this book, Orly Castel-Bloom is testing her strength in a classical narrative and a traditional family saga, but as always with Castel-Bloom, nothing is what it appears to be at first sight. The conventional family story veers into original and untamed paths… In this story of hers, the author broadens the canvas of Hebrew literature and in a unique manner she lays out a decidedly Israeli story, one which she has never told before.”

    The Sapir Prize Committee, January 2016
  • “Beautiful… The parts [of the book] are organized with tenderness and irony, going beyond chronology... Enchanting.”

    Elle France
  • “ Well written and often funny … Masterful interlacing of genres.”

    Le Monde des Livres
  • “Every character presents a story of a small part of the Jewish people, in all their diversity … This kaleidoscope allows the reader to walk trough Egypt of the Pharaohs, Israel of today, Spain during the time of the expulsion of Jews ... The tone is light, the background is serious, and the result - surprisingly successful.”

    Charente Libre
  • “ Orly Castel-Bloom is no slave to literary conventions … It is precisely in her most autobiographical novel that she casts off all restraints and obligations … She fluctuates between absolute lunacy and lucid moments of genius … Castel-Bloom’s most radical work to date … A wild, eccentric and brilliant literary presence over the years, as well as her latest novel. ”