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The Doctor’s Woman

Shimon Karni, a 19-year-old soldier, is involved in a turbulent, fraught love affair with Adva, an experienced woman 11 years and an intern at a psychiatric institution. She is also his cousin. The relationship is all the more complicated and problematic because it entangles Shimon in the unresolved issues that he has with his father. This romance becomes an arena of lust, guilt and death, from which Shimon will be trying to escape for the rest of his life. Telling this love story is Prof. Rafael Bar, a director and a psychiatrist who, through the character of Shimon Karni, is actually telling his own story and his own tragic love affair. However, the manner in which Bar chooses to confess to his role in the death of his cousin raises misgivings and questions.

The final three parts of this clever, sophisticated novella fire ironical barbs at the first part and dispel the cloying atmosphere of the somewhat hackneyed love story. Haim Lapid alludes to multiple explanations for what happens between the soldier and his cousin in that romance and for what takes place in its wake – psychological, literary and philosophical explanations, all of which are paths in the journey toward understanding the soul of the soul doctor, who also is also trying his hand at being a writer.

Haim Lapid has written a sophisticated, complex novella that deals with the human psyche, its desires and secrets, but which is also about the psyche of the author and what happens between an event and what is written about it. There are no simple answers in this story, just as there is no one truth as of the moment it is written down and recounted. This is a novella about writing itself, and the passions that drive it.

Title The Doctor’s Woman
Writer's Last Name Lapid
Writer's First Name Haim
Genre Fiction
Publisher (Hebrew) Keter
No. Pages 220pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Ahuvato Shel Rofe Ha-nefesh
  • “In his ninth book, Haim Lapid builds a deceptive and beautiful puzzle that turns itself over in the reader’s mind time and again … Lapid has written a very intricate and clever book that contains the thoughts and the letters of Rafael Bar, written shortly before he dies. ”