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Auntie Farhuma Wasn’t a Whore After All

Yossi Avni-Levy
This novel deals with lost love, but unlike most stories of this sort, the two lovers are men. The book provides the unusual view of the homosexual experience and of the neighborhood where the hero grew up, which is peopled by immigrants from different countries, among them the mysterious Auntie Farhuma, who may or not have worked in the world’s oldest profession. "I was circumcised on the day that they hanged Eichmann," the writer declares as he begins his story, a loaded statement whose mythic echoes permeate the entire work. The writer links his birth with that historic date in Jewish history, and this symbolism carries obligations. His mother expects her firstborn to be prime minister or another Einstein when he grows up, but just as in the story of Sleeping Beauty, the wicked, red-headed neighbor casts a curse upon him, and the talented boy is doomed to be 'other', not a conqueror of women and a father of children. He has a love-hate relationship with Germany, where his work takes him. Life is good in this gay-friendly country, and he complains endlessly about his native land where life is unbearable, even though he identifies himself as an Israeli patriot. He relates to his next way station ‒ poor, shabby Yugoslavia ‒ with love and compassion, and a sense of closeness mingled with alienation. Avni-Levy maneuvers skillfully between humor and sentimentality, viewing critically and viewing lovingly, revealing the innermost recesses of his soul. He speaks frankly of his love for Erich, who deserted him. He admits that the will to love and be loved is supremely important, taking precedence over his childhood dreams of fame and fortune.

Partial English translation available (for publishers only)

Title Auntie Farhuma Wasn’t a Whore After All
Author’s Last Name Avni-Levy
Author's First Name Yossi
Language(s) Hebrew, Polish
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Am Oved
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2002
No. Pages 384 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Doda Farhuma Lo Haita Zona
Representation Represented by ITHL


Polish: Warsaw, SIC, 2007
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