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Selected stories available in English translation (for publishers only)

Free Radicals

In this collection of stories by Orly Castel-Bloom, the author appears more as a political, sharp-tongued writer than in any of her works. The satirical stories revolve around an idea or witticism about Israeli society and Israeli characters from the familiar reality. She attacks the icons of Israeli society – the military establishment, government institutions and the media – while pointing out typical Israeli syndromes, which trouble the entire society. She makes her point using humor and absurdity, as in the story about the fear of earthquakes, which can be read as a parable about collective fear regarding catastrophes such as chemical warfare. The solution offered by the authorities, a secret factory that manufactures whistles that supposedly save people from earthquakes, is nothing but a useless sedative, and is intended to divert public attention and award a false sense of security.

Castel-Bloom`s Israelis are not only riddled with anxiety; they also try to search for meaning, to find their roots and deal with death. There are also artists, patronized by society and regarded with suspicion, but it is the respectable members of society who keep everyone on a short leash. Such is the bored pub owner who ran over a woman midget while she was crossing the street. Suddenly the wall of serenity he has built around his life crumbles. He asks himself in a philosophical tone, “Am I so irrelevant that my life can just turn itself around without my being asked if I am interested in another jolt? Is man so irrelevant that a single car accident renders it all pointless? Has it all been for nothing?”

Title Free Radicals
Writer's Last Name Castel-Bloom
Writer's First Name Orly
Genre Fiction
Publisher (Hebrew) Keter
No. Pages 157pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Radikalim Chofshiyim