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Meir Shalev

Fiction, 2006

An immediate #1 bestseller upon publication in March 2006

A mesmerizing novel of two love stories, separated by half a century but connected by one enchanting act of devotion.

During the 1948 War of Independence--a time when pigeons are still used to deliver battlefield messages--a gifted young pigeon handler is mortally wounded. In the moments before his death, he dispatches one last pigeon. The bird is carrying his extraordinary gift to the girl he has loved since adolescence. Intertwined with this story is the contemporary tale of Yair Mendelsohn, who has his own legacy from the 1948 war. Yair is a tour guide specializing in bird-watching trips who, in middle age, falls in love again with a childhood girlfriend. His growing passion for her, along with a gift from his mother on her deathbed, becomes the key to a life he thought no longer possible.  

Unforgettable in both its particulars and its sweep, A Pigeon and A Boy is a tale of lovers then and now--of how deeply we love, of what home is, and why we, like pigeons trained to fly in one direction only, must eventually return to it.  In a voice that is at once playful, wise, and altogether beguiling, Meir Shalev tells a story as universal as war and as intimate as a winged declaration of love.

Rights Sold:

USA, Pantheon Books; Bulgaria: Colibri; China, China FLTRP; Brazil, Editora Bertrand Brazil; Switzerland, Diogenes; Italy, Frassinelli; France, Editions des Deux Terres; Holland, Rothschild & Bach; Hungary: Helikon; Latvia: Janis Roze; Serbia: Archipelag; Slovakia, Slovart; Poland, Muza (reverted); Poland, Marginesy; Russia, Text Publishers; Spain, Atico de los Libros; Israel, Am Oved

 Theater: Israel, Gesher


“Vivid characters and sharp dialogue… By working stories in the present and the past against each other, Shalev brings into question the validity, and the reliability, of memory…The search for a home turns into a search for a lost love, who is best re-encountered in middle age.” – New York Times

 “A refreshingly nuanced picture of Israel…Shalev’s moving portrayal of a long-demoralized man imbued with a newfound joie de vivre, allows the reader to behold just how things can be fixed. Not only bodies. Souls, too. They can be fixed and mended.” – Miami Herald

“Shalev’s novel is an intelligent symphony about home. A brilliant elucidation of questions of identity and homeland which fuses the Israeli locale with a stroll through universal time and place.” – Frankfurter Allgemeine

“Shalev, a master story-teller, has written a detailed and elaborate parable which is both delicate and heartbreaking, but does not flinch from including the cruelties of life. Shalev encloses his characters in loving humor and poetically describes ordinary lives.” – Sueddeutsche Zeitung

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