Confessions of a Good Arab

Yoram Kaniuk, Author George Braziller $0 (215p) ISBN 978-0-8076-1210-1
Kaniuk, a respected Israeli writer whose works are out of print here, makes a welcome return with a passionate novel that is at once a powerful indictment of the Zionist dream and a keen study of alienation, isolation and longing. The profoundly sympathetic narrator, Yosef Sherara/Rosenzweig, is also a deliberate fictional embodiment of the Israeli-Arab political conundrum: he is the son of Hava, an Israeli heroine, and Azouri, an Arab intellectual/aristocrat and moderate, the grandson of Franz, a respected physician who fled Hitler's Germany, the estranged lover of Dina, the quintessential Jewish daughter of Holocaust survivors, whom he perversely introduces to the noble Israeli patriot Rammy. Consumed by anger at his double rejection by both the Israeli and Arab worlds, the clairvoyant Yosef serves the Israeli Mossad as well as the Palestinian terrorist organizations. Kaniuk's boldly fantastic narrative, elegantly translated by Bilu, is enticing even if the intricate tale has some murky spots, such as the complex triangular relationship binding Azouri, Hava and Franz. Yosef's seering pain is epic: ``I was born divided and I'll die divided, and all that remains of the bridge Hava my mother on Azouri's side and Azouri my father on Hava's side tried to build is the scar left on Franz's heart when he was crucified by a mob of over-enthusiastic students fifty years ago in Berlin.'' (August)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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