In it, the protagonist Molkho faithfully cared for his dying wife during seven years of illness, at times “her scarred and tortured body,” which has already turned “into a fossil of a species long extinct.” Yet he longs to be freed from the burden of caring for her and looks forward to not having to endure her sharp tongue any longer.
As novelist Lore Segal noted in a review for The Times, while his wife is still breathing, Molkho has his eye on his widowed legal adviser, as a “post-mortem opportunity” and spends the rest of the novel meeting with other post-mortem options.
mr. Yehoshua won the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction with “Mr. Mani” (1992), which traces the six generations’ wanderings of the Sephardic Mani family through pivotal periods of Jewish history. Each of the five chapters consists of the dialogue of a single speaker telling a story to another character, implying that listener’s missing answers in the first character’s comments. To complicate matters further, the novel goes back in time.
Although the novels of Mr. Yehoshua are firmly and evocatively set in Israel, they are laced with themes that connect them to the contemporary Western canon. As the critic Jerome Greenfield wrote in 1979, “In the existential despair, pessimism, sense of disruption and alienation that permeate his work, Yehoshua bridges the gap between modern Israeli script and a dominant stream of some of the best Western literature of our time. age.”
Saul Bellow called Mr. Yehoshua “one of Israel’s world-class writers.” His books have been translated into 28 languages. He won the Israel Prize, which is awarded annually by the state for significant cultural contributions, and in 2005 he was shortlisted for the first Man Booker International Prize, which was subsequently awarded for a body of work.
“In one stroke of his imaginative wings,” Israeli novelist Mr Grossman wrote in an email to Mr Yehoshua, “he would show us how banal and absurd, how reality – especially ours, in Israel – is surreal.”