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The Mentals

Uri Kravitz, an unstable army recruit, tells us of the time he spent at an army base near Jenin, where he went through basic training with other soldiers of “low level medical fitness” due to mental problems. Edgy Uri takes in all the insanity around him without being able to block anything out: two recruits turn a third into their sex slave, one recruit commits suicide, another goes insane and a fifth keeps shooting at supposedly suspicious characters he sees around. In the midst of all this, Uri tries to distinguish himself from the others, while also dealing with the demons that haunt him. Stranded in the muddy, foggy base, while he and his fellow soldiers slowly lose their minds, Uri mulls over his past. He thinks about his mother, who died by accident or committed suicide; about his cold, distant relationship with his father; about Keren, a girl he met at the Arad Music Festival who is no less `mental` then him, and about the Israeli indie-rock band he worships, whose imminent break-up is threatening his sanity no less than his surroundings.

The Mentals isn`t a book about the IDF or about recruit training, it is a book about a young man who has to force his injured soul and sleepless body to perform a task that is more than he can handle.

Title The Mentals
Writer's Last Name Shalev
Writer's First Name Amichai
Genre Fiction
Publisher (Hebrew) Yedioth Ahronoth
No. Pages 221pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Ha-Nafshiyim
  • “ A rare literary talent.”

  • “ One of the more powerful voices among the young generation.”

    Author Yoram Kaniuk
  • “ Amichai Shalev has the rare talent of being able to create a palpable, associative narrative flow… Uncommon eloquence with some extremely impressive, wild and poetic stream-of-consciousness… striking insights and that rare sensuality that is the soul of fiction writing.”