Khirbet Khizeh

(Author) (Afterword by)
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Product Details

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publish Date
5.0 X 7.4 X 0.7 inches | 0.35 pounds

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About the Author

S. Yizhar was the pen name of Yizhar Smilansky, born in Rehovot in 1916. A longtime member of the Knesset, he is most famous as the author of Khirbet Khizeh and the untranslated magnum opus Days of Ziklag. He died in 2006. Nicholas de Lange, a professor emeritus of Hebrew and Jewish studies at Cambridge University, has translated many Hebrew novels, including Preliminaries by S. Yizhar (2007). Yaacob Dweck translated Haim Sabato's The Dawning of the Day (2006). He is an assistant professor of history and Judaic studies at Princeton University. David Shulman teaches Sanskrit and other Indian languages at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has published numerous books and is the author of Dark Hope: Working for Peace in Israel and Palestine (2007). Shulman was named a MacArthur Fellow in 1987.


"This narrow focus gives the book its extraordinary emotional force . . . Two things give Khirbet Khizeh lasting significance. The first is the intimate, personal scale on which it's composed . . . The other source of the power of Khirbet Khizeh its connection to the present . . . [In Khirbet Khizeh] Yizhar Smilansky offers an answer, one that, over the years, has proved only two accurate." --Dexter Filkins, New York Times Book Review

"[A] war novel that refuses all the pieties of that genre and develops into an anguished--and unresolved--meditation on Jewish history and the meaning of exile. Almost every episode screams out its relevance for today." --Robyn Creswell, The Paris Review

"[This] classic of modern Hebrew prose... immediately becomes required reading for anyone interested in the history of Israel and Palestine... Ever since the Bible, the Land of Israel has been a subject of poetry and longing for Jewish literature, and Yizhar continues that tradition in a prose that is--as the afterword by David Shulman points out--full of untranslatable biblical echoes... The consequences of what happened at places like Khirbet Khizeh are still headline news, which makes this short, powerful book less a work of history than a work of prophecy." --Adam Kirsch, The Christian Science Monitor

"Khirbet Khizeh resonates as both historical experience and art." --The Times Literary Supplement

"An exhilarating masterwork . . . Readers should rush to share its still-shocking wisdom." --The Independent

"Astonishing." --The Economist

"[Startling]. . . a slender masterpiece. . ." --Eyal Press, The Nation