The majority of the pieces written in Hebrew do not get a translation into English. As Howard Freedman states in his article, “Only Yesterday” written by Nobel Prize winner S. Y. Agnon in 1945, was only translated more than fifty years afterwards in spite of being considered the best novel ever to have been written in the Hebrew language. However, this has not been the case with “Some Day” by Shemi Zarhin; “Netanya” by Dror Burstein; or “The Remains of Love” by Zeruya Shalev, contemporary works which have been recently translated into English.
Some Day narrates the story of a boy called Shlomi, who falls in love with Ella, the daughter of Ashkenazi Holocaust survivors. Each character in the play is well developed and provides an interesting perspective to analyse the lives in Israel. Tiberias, the city where the author was born, is portrayed as if it were another character in the family saga which develops in a period of several decades, between 1969 and 1983. Another topic addressed, and into which English speakers can immerse themselves as a consequence of translation, is that of the tension between Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews.
Netanya is a book written by one of Israel’s most innovative contemporary writers. The piece develops entirely around the image of a narrator who is on a bench in Tel Aviv looking at the sky. On that night, the narrator fuses his knowledge of the sky, the planets and the cosmos with his personal life. The stories are told as true accounts of Burstein’s family.
The Remains of Love
The Remains of Love’s innovative style develops the story, set in Jerusalem, from the perspective of several narrative voices which fluctuate between a variety of characters. In some cases, the narrative voice merges with actual monologues which are direct insights into the minds of the characters. The story is based on a dying mother and the relationship (including both positive and negative consequences of it) with her son and daughter.