Catch Up on Israeli Lit This Summer: My Recent Translation Projects

As we slip into summer and beach reads beckon, now seems an excellent time to recommend some of my recent literary translation projects, which cover quite a few of the many genres of contemporary Israeli fiction, and offer some good page-turning pleasures regardless of your bookish preferences.

I’ll start with the newest offering: Amos Talshir’s Sudden Lockdown is now available on Amazon. Like many of my favorite books, it doesn’t fit neatly into any genre niche, which is precisely what makes it fresh and unpredictable. This tale of a group of people trapped in a soccer stadium for longer than they ever expected following a global coupe of sorts is a thriller and a love story, an apocalyptic roller-coaster and a character study introducing its readers to a unique, well-rendered cast. It was a pleasure to work on, and it makes me happy that it’s now available to the larger readership it deserves.

If spy novels are your thing, Nathan Ronen’s Where Shadows Meet will deliver the merchandise. Offering another chapter in the daring adventures of Mossad operative Arik Bar Nathan, Shadows also provides an exotic international background focusing on intrigue within the Moroccan royal family, as well as a gritty, knowledgeable behind-the-scenes look at both Israeli politics and the inner workings and conflicts within Israeli intelligence agencies.

In contrast to the contemporary thrills of Ronen, Michal Aharoni Regev’s Doña Gracia’s Gold Pendant delves into the past, specifically sixteenth-century Spain, to present the life story of Doña Gracia Nasi, an extraordinary Jewish entrepreneur and visionary who steps up and takes groundbreaking, unconventional measures to help her people survive the mortal threat posed by the Spanish Inquisition. Aharoni Regev combines meticulous historical detail with the lighter pleasures of familial and romantic intrigue (Gracia’s tumultuous relationship with her sister Brianda is in itself worth the price of admission) to create a highly satisfying package.

In the months to come, keep your eyes open for Uzi Eilam’s forthcoming thriller, Trail of Blood (although titles sometimes change on the way to publication), which offers a rare feature in the field of espionage thrillers—two equally intriguing, complex and fully fleshed protagonists operating on either side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, united by an enduring childhood friendship while also torn apart by the contemporary political realities of the Middle East.

This is just a small selection of my recent literary translation projects. It’s worth exploring all of your favorite book-buying venues for other fine examples of literature in translation, from Israel and elsewhere…

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