A Man and a Woman and a Man
Savyon Liebrecht has long been recognized as a master of the short story. This is her first novel, and it shows all the signs of her originality, maturity and subtlety.
This is the moving love story of Hamutal, a married woman who has a brief affair with a stranger whom she meets at the geriatric ward where her sick mother and his dying father are both hospitalized. Hamutal is the editor of a psychological periodical and is married to a pleasant former kibbutznik who is a bit rough about the edges. Between her two daughters, her husband, her job and her home, not to mention caring for her dying mother, Hamutal spends much of her time juggling her duties. For a short time the lover snatches her away from her everyday life, only to allow her to sink back into routine when he departs.
This is also the story of the painful relationship between Hamutal and her elderly mother. The mother is a Holocaust survivor who was never able to express her love for her daughter. The daughter allows painful memories of her loveless childhood to surface. The mother is now suffering from Alzheimer's disease and more often than not does not even recognize Hamutal when she visits her at the geriatric hospital.
Against this depressing background of disease and encroaching death, love springs up between Hamutal and Saul Hollander, an Israeli residing in Chicago, who has returned to take care of his elderly father. With rare insight and profound psychological sensitivity, Liebrecht captures the flavor of their passionate love, tinged with the desperation of watching their parents' irrevocable deterioration.
With impressive versatility, Liebrecht navigates between the various relationships, the past and the present, and the psychoanalytical materials with which Hamutal deals in her job – the result is a rich, intense and highly poignant novel.
This fine novel is told with grandeur, obsessive power and passionate emotion… Liebrecht proves her courage to deal with idealism and – morality.
This book is a love story...constantly accompanied with the awareness of its end. And yet it is exceptionally bright, and vital… written in a language of rare introspective subtlety.
A finely wrought novel [that] strikes an original note.
A major voice in Israeli fiction is emerging here.
|Title|| ||A Man and a Woman and a Man|
|Author’s Last Name|| ||Liebrecht|
|Author's First Name|| ||Savyon|
|Language(s)|| ||English, German, Italian|
|Publisher (Hebrew)|| ||Keter|
|Year of Publication (Hebrew)|| ||1998|
|No. Pages|| ||224 pp.|
|Book title - Hebrew (phonetic)|| ||Ish Ve-Isha Ve-Ish|
|Representation|| ||Represented by ITHL|
Italian: Rome, edizioni e/o, 2000
German: Munich, dtv, 2000, 2002
English: New York, Persea, 2001