Yeshayahu Koren's stories are luminous with restrained emotion. Beneath the most mundane daily lives glitter the intense relations between people in ageing rural settlements, between soldiers waiting for action, between prisoners serving out their sentence.
In "The Marksman," a group of Israeli soldiers waits for Matti Miller, the marksman, to shoot a wanted man with "blood on his hands." At the critical moment he remembers fainting when his father tended a goat giving birth. Animal imagery abounds, hinting at muted human feeling. The brutality of war is underscored in "Together with Them," when a wounded enemy soldier competes with a donkey for water and compassion.
The novella "The Whip" tells the evocative story of three generations living in a decaying agricultural village. In the background is the moving love story of two people in an institution where bestial relations are rampant: there is a fight between a man and a dog, a violent race between a horse and a motorcycle and hints of sexuality between boys and sheep. In his minor tone Koren hints that people cannot comfort or touch each other, at the most they can witness other lives.
The vitality and credibility of a childhood memory explain more than any statement can....Koren is getting better and better.
The Whip is a perfect piece of literature....Striking beauty, powerful emotion, engrossing stories and readability. What more can we ask of literature?
Selected stories available in English translation (for publishers only)