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The Mina Lisa

Orly Castel-Bloom’s imagination and humor are wilder than ever in this third novel, drawing the readers into fantastic adventures in a world of twisted logic. Everything, however, begins in a typical Israeli setting.

Mina, a happy 38-year-old housewife, looks after her husband Oved, her three children and her home. Enter Flora, her husband’s grandmother, who comes to live with them. An old lady like any other? Not quite. Flora throws her food out the window and eats paper instead. More precisely, she devours Mina’s screenplays, stashed in drawers, because she is convinced they will never be made into films.
“She has already eaten real masterpieces,” Oved tells Mina, revealing that Flora is more than 200 years old. Born in the 18th century in Crete, she has been blessed with longevity for having followed the commandment, ‘Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long.’ From the moment Flora tastes Mina’s screenplays, she cannot eat anything else. When the screenplays are finished, Mina, who has abandoned writing, refuses to supply new ones, and Flora grows weaker.

But when Flora reveals her involvement in the ‘Time Police,’ Mina complies and returns to writing. The two women fly off on a fanciful journey in time, hoping to discover what became of the ‘Time Police’ Chief, who was once Flora’s lover. They arrive in a world that is a mixture of reality and illusion, where women are chained to their pens and forced to write screenplays. In the end Mina liberates her fellow screenwriters and rescues Flora from a bitter fate. Oved, whose dream has been to hold in his own hands – if only for three seconds – the real, eternal and precious “Mona Lisa,” must make do with his own Mina Lisa, who returns to him and to her quiet life. Flora, who has had enough of living, takes her last breath and passes on at the ripe old age of 203.

Chinese, French, German
Title The Mina Lisa
Writer's Last Name Castel-Bloom
Writer's First Name Orly
Genre Fiction
Publisher (Hebrew) Keter
No. Pages 149pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Ha-Mina Lisa
  • “ A brilliant and funny work...the charm of Castel-Bloom's 'fizzy realism'...lies in its direct power.”

    Author Batya Gur
  • “ Brilliant...Orly Castel-Bloom's ambitious and thoughtful sixth book makes you want to read her previous works. ”

  • “ Castel-Bloom is the most controversial writer of her generation, with a fantastic tale, where literary creation plays a major role.”