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Emilia

Yossi Sucary
The State of Israel was established as a melting pot for Jewish immigrants from the East (Mizrahim) and West (Ashkenazim), but exacted a price from some. Against the background of the deprivation of Mizrahim in Israeli society, Sucari's story is distinctly original in its ideas and aesthetics. In keeping with the confessional literary tradition, the story tells the personal account of someone who vacillates between an acute sense of alienation and an equally acute desire to become part of Israeli society. Sucari takes us on a fascinating journey along the Israeli rites of passage – early childhood, going to school, serving in the army, university, and foreign travels – all as a means whereby the author examines the identity of an intellectual attracted to Western culture who is also an Israeli nourished by his Eastern roots. Grandmother Emilia represents the angry Mizrahi immigrant who sees Ashkenazim as "The Enemy". The Zionist enterprise arouses her contempt, so she urges her grandson to seek his fortune abroad. But she is by no means a stereotypical Mizrahi. She is a knowledgeable, educated, and larger than life woman, who dislikes cooking and speaks an elegant Hebrew. A proud Mizrahi, Emilia was born in Libya and has a blue number from Bergen-Belsen tattooed on her arm. Yossi, her grandson, absorbs her wrath and the insults inflicted on his proud grandmother, but becomes neither a social leader nor a "professional" victim of deprivation. His blue eyes, his philosophy studies, and his friendship with an Israeli girl of Russian origin make him feel alienated and guilty that he has failed to carry out his grandmother's will. Although he tried to find himself in New York and even thought of trying his luck in Germany, he eventually returns to Israel to take up an honorable position as a lecturer in Philosophy. He attempts to atone for having "strayed" from his grandmother's path by setting up a summer camp that will introduce the children of his old neighborhood to the sciences and the humanities.


A sincere, scorching portrait of a young man who has serious problems with Israeli reality, and always doubts his standing in the world because of his Sephardi background.
LivresHebdo
 
Written in a muffled, painful style, this “confession” is unlike any other, and maintains a fragile balance in which hatred is paid for with love and the opposite.
Les Inrockuptibles

Sucary is reminiscent of Albert Camus. 
Makor Rishon 
 
Emilia is a riveting and chilling text, one of the best and most fluent written here in recent years. 
Maariv 

Emilia
Title Emilia
Author’s Last Name Sucary
Author's First Name Yossi
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Babel
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2002
No. Pages 111 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Emilia U-Melach Ha-Aretz: Vidui
Representation Represented by ITHL

Translations

French: Arles, Actes Sud, 2006
 
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