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Yoel Hoffmann

Fiction, 1988

Both novellas – Katschen, the tragic tale of a child’s experience of loss, and The Book of Joseph, a chilling account of Berlin in the 1930s – are told with Hoffmann’s characteristic juxtaposition of the realistic and the fantastic.

Koret Jewish Book Award, USA 1998


Rights Sold to:

France, Galaade; Germany, Rowohlt; Israel, Keter; Italy, l'ancora del mediterraneo; USA, New Directions 


“Hoffmann is one of the most precious voices in Israel’s contemporary literature; his writing has about it the poetic, dream-like quality of an ancient myth, combined with a fierce, ‘molecular’ precision.” – Amos Oz

“These two quietly stunning novellas mark the American debut of a writer of international importance.” – Publishers Weekly

“[T]he author’s prose insures the reader an enlightening experience.” – The New Yorker

“Magical realism with an unsentimental appreciation of history.” – New York Newsday

“Magnificent. Dreamlike and powerful. These are both astonishingly fine works.” – Cooper Renner,  Elimae

“[N]ew beginnings awaken Hoffmann's characters to foreign, often spectacular landscapes, and the author's prose ... insures the reader an equally enlightening experience.” – The New Yorker

“Like other Israeli novelists of his era, Hoffmann faces the challenge of voicing the unspeakable. He has a Mozartean sense of the emotional interplay of light and shadow, and in his close stitchery of everyday life and mythical experience, his many-colored Joseph's dreamcoat is seamless.” – Boston Globe

“These two novellas, Yoel Hoffman's English-language debut, deliver a cache of themes particular to post modern Israeli literature, all the while paying homage to Yiddish folklore and Jewish mysticism.” – Atlanta Jewish Times

“Unadulterated, cerebral and exquisitely phrased (most remarkably in this English translation), Hoffmann's writing pretends to nothing but what it achieves: a meditative journey through the mind, heart and history, the scope of which is so gratifying, so stimulating, so difficult to describe.” – Bomb

“Yoel Hoffmann's prose has a poetic quality, full of imagery and symbolism.... Hoffmann skillfully views life through the eyes of a confused and innocent young boy who possesses a vivid imagination and never loses hope regardless of his misfortunes.” – World Literature Today

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