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Yael Hedaya

Fiction, 1997

The men, women, and even the animals in this enthralling collection live at the mercy of their hearts. Young and old, on two legs or four, they grope for love and tenderness, knowing that all connection is fraught with danger and all relationships random and evanescent. HOUSEBROKEN navigates the moments of decision, betrayal, longing, and jealousy that torment the souls of wounded lovers.


The title novella, a wrenching account of the end of love, traces a gentle dog’s transformation into a vicious beast as the couple who own him begin to break apart. In “The Happiness Game,” the tenuous bonds between husband and wife are undermined by black crows and weak hearts, while “Matti” presents a chorus of voices - doctors, nurses, jilted wife, dying husband - that recount an old man’s passion for his lover, a fifteen-year-old Lolita.


Rights Sold:

France, Actes de Sud (reverted); Holland, Meulenhoff ; Israel, Am Oved; Italy, Einaudi (reverted); Switzerland, Diogenes; USA, Holt/Metropolitan Pb Picador


“Housebroken is extraordinarily affecting, even heartbreaking. Hedaya is a brilliant, poised writer who has come into the world fully formed. I am amazed.” – A.B. Yehoshua

“A collection of remarkable emotional power, written to darkly comic effect.  Hedaya’s love stories manqué are an exploration of the fractured bourgeois dream of domestic bliss…three tales, fabulous in nature, of our housebroken estate.  Extraordinary.” – Mauren Howard, Los Angeles times Book Review

“Housebroken is simply a great book – wise, tender, and structurally brilliant from beginning to end.” – Batya Gur

“Yael Hedaya is a true discovery. Her stories are merciless and well told, laconic, comic, and affecting all at the same time.” – Cosmopolitan

“The Jerusalem-born author belongs to a generation of Israeli writers whose subject matter is no longer the past and the Holocaust but the commonplace routine of everyday life. Hedaya’s never-mawkish story gets a comic lift by taking the sentiments of the dog as important as those of people.” – Der Spiegel

 “Funny, touching, fiercely honest, with an intelligent eye and sensitive ear on every page. Housebroken will make you weep for the sorrow at the heart of all living things.” – La Stampa

“Love – its realization and its failure – has rarely been portrayed with such piercing beauty and magic.” – Trouw

“Yael Hedaya juggles with sentimental ambiguities in an elliptical language with finesse and understated humor. In somber restraint the author creates a subtle palette of emotions; a distance colored with humor and cynicism, feigned indifference, a despair that takes the appearance of being reasonable and an anxiety well hidden with happiness – in short: a treat of lucidity and self-derision.” – Le Courrier Geneve

“Trois Histories D’amour is mostly about questions of doubt, anxiety, tears, loneliness and finally disillusionment. With the precision of an entomologist, the author makes do with very little, almost nothing … hypnotic and vaguely despairing.” – L’Hebdo

“Three exceptional stories of love’s poignant desire; urban stories written in a manner ferocious and tender at the same time. Yael Hedaya is a revelation in Israel as well as abroad.” – Le Nouvel Observateur

“Yael Hedaya’s writing touches the heart and, like life itself, is solemn and light at the same time.” – Psychologie

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