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The Queen and I

Yoram Kaniuk
Nathan Yizraeli, an aging historian, was sitting in his rocking chair, facing an open window and breathing in the autumn air, when the phone rang. On the other end of the line was a woman who introduced herself as Elizabeth, Queen of England. Stunned, he attempted to understand why she was calling him. She replied that she had being trying to locate him for over a year, and that, having found him, she wished to ask him to find her long-lost love, Bruce, whom she has not seen in twenty years, and bring him back to her.
So begins Nathan Yizraeli`s long-distance telephone liaison with Elizabeth, the Queen of England, whom he later meets in London, and with whom he develops a personal, intimate relationship. Yizraeli has no recollection of ever meeting the Bruce she is referring to, and attempts to convince her she is mistaken. However, as she repeatedly insists that he and Bruce are long-time acquaintances, Yizraeli begins asking the Queen questions. Using "common" language she assures him, no one else has heard escape her lips, she begins divulging the saga of her clandestine affair with the love of her life.
Although the Queen`s story seems at first to have no relevance to or bearing on the narrator`s life, small details in her story evoke long-forgotten images in his mind, causing memories he had repressed for over fifty years to resurface. "I admit I was moved," he says. "This was no longer a fairytale about the Queen and me. This was a story about a great fear, about a mystery that had been haunting me most of my life."
Gradually, as the Queen`s narrative unfolds, Nathan Yizraeli discovers the unlikely connection between her story and his own forgotten history. Through his well-researched mission of searching for this mysterious man, he realizes why the Queen is convinced that he is the only one able to reconnect her with her lover. Ultimately, he comes to learn a great deal – not only about Her Royal Majesty, but also about himself.

English translation available (for publishers only)

The Queen and I
Title The Queen and I
Author’s Last Name Kaniuk
Author's First Name Yoram
Language(s) Hebrew, German
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Hakibbutz Hameuchad/ Sifriat Poalim
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2001
No. Pages 176 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Ha-Malka Va-Ani
Representation Represented by ITHL


German: Munich, Paul List, 2004; pback: 2005

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