Mandelman’s collection of short stories takes on some of the most complex issues in Israeli society today by challenging the dogmas of its most obstinate characters. The first story, Pushcart Prize-winner “Pity,” may be the best of the collection. It introduces the hard voice that permeates Mandelman’s collection, the voice of his Mossad operative, a ruthless man who exists in a moral oblivion guided only by dogma and vengeance. The texture of these stories disconcerts rather than soothes, planting doubt rather than offering resolution. Their edginess is often hard to take in. The brazenness of Mandelman’s military figures stands in stark contrast to his portrait of a polygamy case in Israel’s Rabbinical Court in “Mish-Mash,” a story that can only be described as a Talmudic brain scramble. Mandelman achieves a unique voice in Israeli literature.
- Israeli Writers Embracing English by Ranen Omer-Sherman