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The Deborah Harris Agency

MOX NOX

MOX NOX

By: ADAF, Shimon

Fiction, 2011

Sapir Prize for Literature, 2012

The narrator of MOX NOX, a writer specializing in “metaphysical tales,” tells of the summer when, as a sixteen-year-old, he works in a factory on a kibbutz. Two other boys are there as well, along with the secretary of the factory, a lonely woman who he suspects has romantic intentions toward his pious but embittered father. The secretary’s deep interest in poetry and language, which the narrator first regards as an unwanted distraction, turns out to be the relief from daily tedium, with the potential to change his life.

But only perhaps. In a parallel storyline set years later, our nameless hero is drawn into a love affair with an older woman who challenges the limits of intimacy and undermines his certainties about the world. She forces him to re-examine not only the events of the past, things that were and things that might have been, but also the ways in which awareness of the past and perception of the future continue to mold his consciousness and the story that he is trying to tell.

Amid his efforts to understand, ghosts emerge from the folds and fissures of everyday life, ghosts he must confront in order to survive as a “civilized member of society”: son, brother, lover, and so on, and also as a creative spirit trying to contend with the divine and with the unintelligible traditions bequeathed to him.   

Rights Sold to:

Published by:

Israel, Kinneret Zmora Bitan

Reviews:

“Mox Nox stands out for its distinct originality and its innovative language. The protagonist leads us through the divergence of his complex psyche and uses Latin, brilliantly woven into the Hebrew, to break free from the different kinds of oppression in his life.” - Sapir Prize Judges

“Like Faulkner, Proust and Avot Yeshurun, [Adaf] adapts the language of the tribe into the unique language of involuntary memory and sensations…He demands that we rethink reading habits as well as the conventions of the tribe.” – Lilach Lachman, Ha'aretz

“This is a powerful and impressive novel, which elevates the author to another level of prose writing.

“It seems one can treat Mox Nox as a successful attempt to explain what's behind Adaf's suspicion of, and withdrawal from what is defined as realistic. He successfully  demonstrates  the anxiety brought about by the mundane, physical, rule-free world, which would mock at any effort to extract beauty of meaning from it.

“The misanthropy and social angst of the intellectual are treated comprehensively. Good lord! Helplessness can seem a little sexy.” – Yoni Livne, Yediot

 “Shimon Adaf's voice is one of the most interesting and original voices in contemporary Israeli literature. Both as a poet and as a prose writer he excels in rich, fascinating imagination, in musical qualities and in a unique concept of reality. I regard Adaf as an excellent poet and writer.” – Amos Oz

“I think this is Adaf's best book…

“With his prose Adaf creates a sort of repair to provinciality. His matching of the Israeli south and the peaks of culture, while elegantly skipping over what the center regards as culture… fittingly accompanies the literary gaze at the south, and with that its minor redemption, and its ushering into the center's consciousness.

“In spite of the ethnic motive in this novel, Adaf never succumbs to the cheap appeal of identity politics… he knows he cannot be one of the herd, he knows he is one of a kind.” – Arik Glasner, Mysay

“There are very few Hebrew writers who are said to reinvent the language with every book. Adaf is certainly one of them. Broken, crushed, circular, fragmented— his words are an accurately terrifying mirroring of the soul.” – Ran Bin-Nun, Yediot Achronot