This brilliant, humorous novel is a biting satire of the lives lived by the wealthiest 10 percent of Israeli society, and of yuppie culture in general. At the center of the novel stands the Gruber family, residents of an affluent north Tel Aviv neighborhood. Irad Gruber, the father, develops patents for the Ministry of Defense. He is a man of weak character, concerned only with himself. His energetic wife, Amanda, manages the family`s textile plant and obsessively undergoes various sorts of plastic surgery. The couple has two grown children: Lirit lives with her boyfriend in a community in the Negev and runs an organic farm; their son, Dael, is serving as a sniper in a combat unit during his military service and in his free time reads great works of classical literature.
This surprising tale takes place over several traumatic days and moves between Israel and New York. Irad is asked by the Ministry of Defense to create a uniform which is lightweight and protects against terrorist attacks. He flies to the United States to meet an eccentric female scientist whom he met on the Internet - a former Israeli, who has promised to help him in his project. She is an expert in a particular kind of spider whose web can be made into a strong, durable fabric suitable for the uniforms. Irad settles into her house and begins to drive her mad with his presence.
Meanwhile, Amanda checks into a clinic in Tel Aviv to receive shoulder-blade implants and we discover that, behind her obsession with plastic surgery, she is in fact addicted to anesthesia and pain-killers because they help her forget her constant worry over her son. The surgery does not go well. Amanda suffers a bad infection and is taken to the hospital. Lirit and Dael are called to her bedside, but she dies a short time later. Her husband prefers to stay in the U.S. and returns to Israel only after the funeral. Lirit, meanwhile, takes over the textile plant, and plans far-reaching changes.
Orly Castel-Bloom takes revenge on reality by twisting its arm – with a straight face, and under cover of total normality, she forces it to say hidden, unexpected things.
Le Monde des livres
Such a talented writer … Read her book!
Le Figaro litteraire
Orly Castel-Bloom is a “grande dame” of Israeli letters… her books are caustic fables in which the absurd and the grotesque are the maquillage of reality – they make it more bearable.
|Author’s Last Name|| ||Castel-Bloom|
|Author's First Name|| ||Orly|
|Language(s)|| ||English, French, Italian, Polish|
|Publisher (Hebrew)|| ||Hakibbutz Hameuchad/ Siman Kriah|
|Year of Publication (Hebrew)|| ||2006|
|No. Pages|| ||200 pp.|
|Book title - Hebrew (phonetic)|| ||Textil|
|Representation|| ||Represented by ITHL|
French: Arles, Actes Sud, 2008
Polish: Izabelin, Swiat Ksiazki, 2011
Italian: Rome, Atmosphere Libri, 2011
English: New York, Feminist Press, 2013
Czech: Prague, Garamond, 2017