Galit and Gilad Seliktar
Ponent Mon S.L., 2011. $25.00
Farm 54 is a collection of three semi-autobiographical stories addressing three important periods in the life of the protagonist, Noga, born at the start of the 1970's and growing up in Israel's rural periphery. Substitute Lifeguard (1981) finds her towards the end of her childhood as she experiences a family trauma, a blessing and a birthday. Spanish Perfume (1983) brings her to teenage in the wake of the First Lebanon War whilst Houses (1989) portrays her passage to adulthood and hence military service in the occupied territories.These stories present the disturbing underground dimensions of adolescence and the dangers and traumas that subvert the superficial tranquillity of youth in the countryside. While these Israeli childhood stories take place in the shadow of war and occupation, they eventually also reflect universal feelings, passions and experiences.
When We Danced on Water
Harper Perennial, 2011. $14.99
At eighty-five, Teo is ready to retire from the bombast and romance of life as one of the world's most influential choreographers. But when he meets Vivi, a fortyish waitress at a Tel Aviv caf�, the fires of his youth flare back to life-his passion for a woman's touch, his long-buried anguish at his wartime experiences, and his complex engagement with dance. Vivi's life will change, too, as the warmth of Teo's affection counterbalances her harrowing time as an Israeli soldier in an illicit relationship. For both, their investment in art, and indeed in life itself, will reawaken as the ghosts of their suppressed pasts-from Warsaw to Copenhagen, Berlin to Tel Aviv-cry out for forgiveness and healing.