Husband and Wife by Zeruya Shalev

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A rising star of international letters, Zeruya Shalev takes us on a compelling narrative journey in the exquisite and unsettling Husband and Wife. Na'ama and Udi Newman have many of the trappings of an idyllic shared existence. A couple since they were schoolchildren, they have grown together like vines and settled into a routine of calm domesticity, along with their young daughter, Noga. But in a scene worthy of Kafka, the quiet rhythms of their family life suddenly screech to a halt when Udi wakes up one morning to find that he is unable to move his legs. The doctors quickly set about searching for a physical explanation, but it soon becomes painfully clear that his paralysis is a symptom of something far less tangible, and far more insidious than any of them had imagined. This one morning sets in motion a series of events that reveals a vicious cycle of jealousy, paranoia, resentment, and accumulated injuries that now threaten to tear the small family apart. Shaleve brilliantly captures the vulnerability and deceptive comforts of lives intertwined in this deeply disturbing portrait of a diseased marriage.

About Zeruya Shalev

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Shalev is a poet and novelist. She has a master's degree in biblical studies and is chief literary editor at an Israeli publishing house. Dalya Bilu lives in Jerusalem and has been awarded a number of prizes for her translation work, including the Israeli Ministry of Culture Prize for Translation, and the Jewish Book Council Award for Hebrew-English Translation.
Published December 1, 2007 by Grove Press. 324 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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The story, as narrated by Naama, becomes a kind of Proustian recollection of the marriage, which reached its high point in the happy months following Noga’s birth but has declined steadily in the ten years since.

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Publishers Weekly

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Little occurs outside the racing mind of Na'ama Newman, the intensely thoughtful narrator of this second novel by Shalev (Love Life).

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Book Reporter

It has been more than 25 years since Na'ama and Udigi met, 25 years of passion, indifference, guilt, indulgence, anger, apathy, lust, love, and co-dependence, 25 years for their relationship to blossom, wilt and rot.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Husband and Wife

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