A couple with years of lies between them; a newly married man who tries to understand from the Bible how to have sex with his wife; another, curled up inside the womb of his beloved, discovers her body from within. The characters in Behar`s stories all attempt to revive their linguistic and cultural past, uncovering their connection to Berlin and Iraq at the same time as they are pulled towards contemporary Israeli culture. What links all the stories is the process of establishing an identity—the attempt to bridge the many ethnic differences, particularly in relationships, to heal generational as well as minority rifts, and to reconnect the language of life to that of the Bible.
Behar writes in Hebrew, but his parents` languages are Arabic and German. For different reasons, both languages have negative connotations in Israel, and the writer deals with this in a highly original way. Throughout the various stories, his writing is sensitive to cultural and human nuances, especially to the place of language(s) in the characters` lives, to their rooted yet frail identity as they all strain to belong.
A beautiful collection of stories... Behar`s knowledge of Jewish literature - from Kafka to Amira Hess, from the scriptures as well as 19th century literature - is exactly what most young writers in Israel lack. [Behar shows] humility toward the scriptures, respect for previous generations, and plenty of criticism for the society we live in.
It is clear that the author of these stories is refined, complex and erudite.
Selected stories available in English translation (for publishers only)