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November 14, 2003 - Image 67

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-11-14

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A.B. Yehoshua is the author of

several novels, including Mr. Mani and

The Lover. He has received the National

Jewish Book Award and the Koret Jewish

Book Award, and lives in Haifa, Israel.

A.B. e os ua, cr.: eonar o -ndamo

"Yosef Suissa."

Hannah Tedeschi was relentless. "No one gives a damn about

"An Orthodox Jew?"

popular culture. They think it's beneath them. They'd rather write

"One of the decent ones."

about that blind Egyptian who won the Nobel Prize."

"The field has recently been flooded by such types."

"I thought he was deaf."


"Deaf, blind, who cares? They don't have Suissa's feel for every-

"Enriched." Rivlin corrected himself while signaling his wife that

the visit was over. Hagit, however, paid no attention and even agreed

to a second cup of tea, as an antidote to the ghastly cake.

"So what do you say?" their hostess demanded. She looked so

weary and distracted at this hour of the morning that Rivlin won-

dered whether Tedeschi's first wife wasn't making a comeback in her.

"About what?"

"About having a look at Suissa's material. You never know.

Perhaps you'll find a spark of inspiration for your book."

day life."

"That's enough talking," Tedeschi told his wife. "Call Mrs.

Suissa and tell her that Yochanan is on his way over now to take

everything. She's so swamped by all the papers her husband left

behind that she's liable to torch them in desperation."

"But its Saturday...."

"Don't worry about it. His wife is no longer a Sabbath observer.

The religious one in the family was him. Look here, Yochanan.

Listen to your moribund old professor. Do it. You know I'm your

"In old poems and stories? No thanks. They're not my line."

loyal friend, whatever our mutual reservations and recriminations.

"No, but they're not far from it," Tedeschi said. "You can spice

Take my advice. Don't miss the chance to see what Suissa had. It

your work up with them. Believe me, it's not a bad recipe...." He

has nothing to do with my jubilee volume. I couldn't care less about

winked again at the two sisters. "Not bad at all. At Cambridge, when

that. It's only making me sicker. Phone her, Hannah. As long as

I illustrated the Turks' casual attitude toward state corruption with

you're already in Jerusalem, you might as well benefit from it...."

examples from popular nineteenth-century theater, it went down

rather well."

"But you're asking me to look at things written in a local dialect

that I would have a hard time translating."

Rivlin felt a wave of the same affection that had moved him in

the distant days of his doctoral studies, when he had sat for hours

in this room under the strict but patient tutelage of the dedicated_

teacher who had pinned great hopes on him. Back then the smells

"Do as some of your colleagues do and find an Arab student to

from the kitchen came from the cooking of Tedeschi's first wife,

help you," their hostess suggested. "Carlo always has a few talented

cooking that alone was sufficient evidence that she was losing her

young Arabs doing the drudgery."

mind. He cast a questioning glance at Hagit and Ofra.

"What makes you think they'll understand Algerian dialect?"

"They will if you give them a reason to—say, a research assistantship.

They'll use far-flung family connections to find out what they don't

Hagit threw up her hands in cheerful surrender. "What do you

have to lose?" she asked. Even his sister-in-law, who always mind-

ed her own business, nodded ever so slightly in agreement.

know. Take a look at Suissa's material. Its a shame to let it go to waste."

"But why not find someone in his own department?" Rivlin asked,

The Liberated Bride (c) A.B. Yehoshua and Ha-Me'uhad Press 2001.

trying to get out of it. "There must be someone who wants to carry

English translation copyright (c) by Hillel Halkin. Reprinted by

on his work and publish. I'd just be muscling in."

permission of Harcourt, Inc.



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