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Husband and Wife

Zeruya Shalev
One morning Na'ama wakes up to a new reality. Her husband, until now a healthy, active tour guide, announces that he cannot get out of bed. From the beginning of the novel, reminiscent of Kafka's Metamorphosis, we have full view of the relationship between Udi, who has gone on "strike" and his wife, who tries to cope with the crisis in their marriage.
The pace of the plot changes swiftly, as suits the protagonist, Na'ama, who flutters incessantly between a sense of total loss and the feeling that she has finally found solid ground. We learn the intimate details of the couple's life and, as though through a magnifying mirror, we see our own conjugal relationships anew.
Husband and Wife is a classic novel about marriage, amazingly daring and full of sharp insights.
Shalev uses her surprising plot and rich imagery to uncover hidden emotional impulses which turn husband and wife into almost complete strangers.


In language that is opulent, grand, fluid, and careening, Zeruya Shalev leads us through a unique and uninterrupted stream of contradictory feelings, peeled down to the nanoparticle that is their kernel.  Moving no more than a millimeter as we circle around the feeling, we travel far — to the farthest reaches of the intimate — and we are overwhelmed.

Direct Matin Lyon Plus

Shalev’s language is hauntingly, painfully lyrical, as is her understanding of the human yearning for connection and solitude.
Publishers Weekly

I defy anyone to be unmoved by writing this powerful. 
The Guardian

Magic, in this work there is immeasurable magic.
Marcel Reich-Ranicki

A genius record of marital agony.
Exclusiv (Poland)

Husband and Wife
Title Husband and Wife
Author’s Last Name Shalev
Author's First Name Zeruya
Language(s) Hebrew, English, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Croatian, Greek, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Slovenian, Spanish, Turkish, Vietnamese
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Keshet
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2000
Publisher 2 (Hebrew) Keter
Year of Publication 2 (Hebrew) 2012
No. Pages 341 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Baʹal Ve-Isha
Representation Represented by ITHL


German: Berlin, Berlin Verlag, 2001; pback: 2002; Brigitte, 2010; with Love Life & Late Family, Berlin Taschenbuch, 2010
French: Paris, Gallimard, 2001; pback: Gallimard/Folio, 2004
Italian: Milan, Frassinelli, 2001; Mondolibri, 2001 
English: New York, Grove, 2002; pback: 2004; Edinburgh, Canongate, 2002; pback: 2005
Dutch: Amsterdam, Cossee, 2002
Korean: Seoul, Prunsoop, 2002
Spanish: Barcelona, Galaxia Gutenberg, 2002; 2004
Turkish: Istanbul, Dogan, 2003; 2009
Polish: Warsaw, WAB, 2004; 2008
Slovenian: Krize, Ucila, 2004
Norwegian: Oslo, Aschehoug, 2005
Greek: Athens, Patakis, 2005
Romanian: Bucharest, Polirom, 2008
Vietnamese: Hanoi, Bach Viet, 2009
Croatian: Zapresic, Fraktura, 2009

Azeri: Baku, Alatoran, 2019

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