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Meir Shalev ALONE IN THE DESERT Hebrew c


Meir Shalev

Fiction, 1998

At 52, Raphael is the oldest living man in his family’s history. He lives and works in the Negev desert in southern Israel. Out of a sense that his death is nearing, he finds refuge in the terrain and in the solitude his work bestows upon him. Alone in the desert, he draws on his youth in Jerusalem, and the four dead men and the six living women (his mother, grandmother, two aunts, sister and ex-wife) that have accompanied him through life.

In his uniquely lush and humorous style, Meir Shalev has written the ultimate saga. 

Rights Sold:

France, Editions des Deux Terres; Switzerland, Diogenes; Holland, Ambo/Anthos; Italy, Frassinelli (reverted); Russia, Text Publishers; Israel, Am Oved



“Captivating characters, vivid scenes punctuate the story of a little boy raised by five women… a superb coming-of-age novel.” – Livres Hebdo

“This is undoubtedly Meir Shalev’s most intimate, most touching and perhaps best book….An optimistic novel marked by the weight of memory and the attachment to the country… An amusing and sensual novel..” – Le Monde

“An enchanting novel... fantastic, hilarious and mysterious...Shalev has written a novel that gives you the sensation of reading with your hands, eyes and skin, instead of with your head.” – Financieel Dagblad

“A modern master storyteller.” – De Groene Amsterdammer

“To whoever reads just one book a year I recommendAlone in the Desert– it is world literature. No doubt, Meir Shalev is the greatest living Israeli novelist!” – Die Welt

A family saga ranging between metaphysics and irony … a tragic-comic chronicle as well as philosophical narrative … it’s reading will warm all hearts…” – Le Figaro

“Alone in the Desert is kind of a Russian novel placed in the languor of the Orient, a Cherry Orchard wedged among orphans, the blind and the crazy of a Jerusalem cruel and forgotten … grating humor … Meir Shalev is the most Chekhovien of the Israeli writers.” – Liberation

 “Meir Shalev, the Woody Allen of the desert, is an Israeli author one has absolutely to read!” – Elle

“Chronically tragic-comic, Alone in the Desert, reflects the influence of Woody Allen and Romain Gary --- heartwarming” – Le Figaro Magazine

“Stimulating all senses, as often realistic as absurd...a delight to read - to smell it, to taste it, to enjoy it.” – Trouw

 “Meir Shalev has beautifully and convincingly succeeded in relating the childhood experiences of a boy, forming an artful mosaic from various episodes and experiences. The author’s descriptions revolve again and again around the complicated relations between man and woman, longing and disappointment, tenderness and violence, lust and grief.” – Berliner Morgenpost

 “The hero loses nothing of his shy charm. His diction reminds the reader of Woody Allen --- in the desert. Shalev knows how words smell and taste. Very sensuous.” – Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung

“Shalev’s narrative powers always make his books an especially pleasant reading experience. The novel perfectly balances male resistance and a song of praise for femininity …a feast of the senses…” – Der Standard

A work of art!” – Rheinischer Merkur

“Humorous and profound. As we already know, Meir Shalev is an imaginative, intuitive and fabulously gifted storyteller.” – Der Bund

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