Metropolitan Books  2005


From the Rohr Judges

Hedaya is known in Israel for, among other achievements, her writing on the television program “In Therapy,” and her sense of the kinds of small pains and little lonelinesses that combine to make a life less fulfilled is aching in its power. Richly drawn characters and slow, almost musical movement toward connections they make, connections they miss, and those they make once more, combine for a luxuriating read. The elements of the novel – a widower, his daughter, a new potential love interest, their mutual careers as writers, their successes and failures at same – will not necessarily surprise the reader, but their elegant combination will delight. This is a novel with few explicit mentions of Jewishness, locating any Jewish identity it has is the characters’ Israeli identities. Nor is it an Israeli novel that focuses on what Israelis call the “situation.” Rather, it is a novel of people, who they are, and what they want: and it is an excellent example of the type.

Yael Hedaya On...

How She (doesn't) Write

For me, writing is more about the washing machine than the computer. When I write, I find myself looking for endless distractions: Chores, stepping out to buy toothpaste and coming home five hours later, or this urge I get only when I have to start a new book, to clean out the glove compartment, or: If I happen to actually be sitting in front of the computer – which is rare – I'll take numerous surf breaks to look up exotic recipes on the internet, but my all time favorite distraction is laundry. Oh, how I love dirty clothes when I'm working on a book, and if there aren't any, I'll ambush any orphaned, unsuspecting, (and clean) sock, and throw it into the machine for a private, very long cycle, so that I can kneel in front of the washer and stare at it getting trashed about in the suds, feeling guilty for wasting all that water and energy, but not half as guilty for not doing what I was supposed to be doing in the first place.

Her Inspiration for Writing Fiction

Inspiration is a tricky word. When I was a child, and later in my teens, I’d be inspired and heavily influenced by EVERYTHING I read, Kafka, Dostoyevsky, who of course, I couldn’t understand, as well as labels on cereal boxes and the phone directory. 

Words totally “did it” for me. Not only was I a compulsive reader; I used to talk out loud to myself until my father told me only lunatics do this. Maybe that’s why I started writing, not knowing yet that writing is perhaps a more structured, stylized form of insanity.

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