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Petty Business

A tragi-comic novel that tells the story of two middleaged sisters in Tel Aviv: Tzippi the extravagant fashion show producer, and pessimistic, introverted Dvora, who owns a failing perfume shop and cares for her intellectually disabled younger sister Bina. The two sisters dream of taking a family vacation with their husbands, their grown children, and even their elderly aunt to Seefeld, an Alpine town which they imagine as a hotbed of fantastic luxury. It is 1989, and trips abroad are still rare and expensive. Affluent Tzippi suggests that her impoverished sister, who has not been abroad since her honeymoon, opens a clothing stall to sell schmattes at fairs and water parks. The action shifts from middle class Tel Aviv to the hectic water park and the colorful figures who populate it, including both peddlers and vacationers. The schmattes business is successful, but as the end of the summer draws near, the family members find themselves caught up in a web of intrigue and desire. The comic veneer is gradually stripped away to reveal an irreparable sadness.

Title Petty Business
Writer's Last Name Pinkus
Writer's First Name Yirmi
Genre Fiction
Publisher (Hebrew) Am Oved
No. Pages 310pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) BizEir Anpin
  • “Yirmi Pinkus is a gifted writer. His words evoke sounds and smells, and memories that I was never aware of before.”

  • “I had a feeling of delight while reading this book… What a celebration: unrestrained, ironic and very funny. It has been a long time since I read a book that so overwhelmed me into uncontrollable fits of laughter. It manages to both entertain and to profoundly stir the emotions. When I finished reading it, I was left with a broad grin on my face that wouldn’t go away. ”