Khirbet Khizeh, by S. Yizhar

Khirbet Khizeh,  by S. Yizhar, Ibis Editions, Jerusalem, 2008, translated by Nicholas de Lange and Yaacob Dweck, originally published in Hebrew in 1949. This is the first English edition. Read excerpts: 30 (from “Our man Moishe picked up his binoculars. . .) to 31 (“it’s started.”); 107-110 (to “voices and stares”).

Khirbet Khizeh, a novella by S. Yizhar, describes the efforts of an Israeli army unit to occupy and expel the residents of a fictional Palestinian village during the 1948 war.  The story is told from the conflicted point of view of one of the soldiers in an engulfing stream of consciousness.  Written in 1949, the novella was  embraced as a classic of Hebrew literature and became part of the school curriculum in Israel.

“Renowned for many years as the only tale in Israeli literature to tell the story of the 1948 expulsion, Khirbet Khizeh also owes its power and status to the way that it recounts the resistance to memory which this dark episode of Israeli history will provoke in the nation’s consciousness: ”True, it all happened a long time ago,’ the story opens, ‘but it has haunted me ever since. I sought to drown it out with the din of passing time, to diminish its value, to blunt its edge with the rush of daily life.'” (From a March 11, 2011 review of the recent re-issue by Jacqueline Rose in The Guardian.)

Ibis Editions recommends ordering the book through Small Press Distribution in Berkeley CA.


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