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The Pure Element of Time
Haim Be’er; Barbara Harshav, trans.



Tauber Institute Series for the Study of European Jewry

Brandeis University Press
2002 • 304 pp. 6 x 9"
Fiction & Literature / Israeli Studies / Jewish Studies

$24.95 Paperback, 978-1-61168-431-5
$19.99 Ebook, 978-1-61168-432-2

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.


Trans. from the Hebrew

"This poignant narrative — part memoir, part novel — chronicles the upbringing of one of Israel's preeminent writers, recounting the relationships and tensions that shaped him . . . With vibrant prose, [Be'er] tells the story of a writer who transcends personal and social limitations to create lasting art." —Nextbook

A rich autobiographical novel of the sentimental education of one of modern Israel’s foremost literary talents

Published in 1998 as Havalim, The Pure Element of Time is a rich and evocative autobiographical novel about a writer’s development. With his keen eye and opulent writing style, Haim Be’er turns the story of his childhood and maturity into a complex and gripping work of art.

Constructed as a triptych, The Pure Element of Time begins with the author’s boyhood. Raised in an orthodox family in an old Jerusalem neighborhood in the early 1950s, Be'er was profoundly influenced by his overly pious grandmother, who was, nonetheless, a natural storyteller whose richly evocative parables and tales inspired his lifelong love for language. The middle section depicts his parents’ marriage, a tragic misalliance between a smart, independent Jerusalem-born woman and a withdrawn and defeated refugee from the Russian pogroms. The emergence of the writer’s individual literary voice—informed by, yet ultimately transcending, the influences of tradition and history—forms the emotional and psychological core of Be’er’s work.

Reviews:

“[A]n intricate blend of human relationships, aspirations and—most candidly—limitations. . . . Most compelling is Be’er’s take on Israeli history from the perspective of the country's Orthodox minority.”
Publishers Weekly

“A probing, splendid novel.”—Hadassah

“[A]n autobiographical novel . . . revealing the unique familial and social influences that sparked the imagination of the young writer.”—Translation Review



HAIM BE’ER was born in Jerusalem in 1945 to an Orthodox family. He began his literary career as a proofreader and was a newspaper columnist for many years. He presently works as an editor at Am Oved Publishers. A writer of prose and poetry, he has received several literary awards, including the Bernstein Prize, one of Israel’s most prestigious literary prizes. He has published three novels, one book of poetry, and a book of nonfiction.






Fri, 21 Feb 2014 11:11:51 -0500