Interview by Susanne Lettenbauer on Austrian national radio ORF.
Listen (German) >>>
Interview by Susanne Lettenbauer on Austrian national radio ORF.
Listen (German) >>>
The Hilltop is one of twelve novels listed on the longlist of the Sapir Prize, Israel’s equivalent of the Booker.
The shortlist will be announced on November 25th, and the winner on February 5th, 2014.
Review of the Hilltop in the Koelner Stadt-Zeitung, by Martin Oehlen.
Read review (German) >>>
The Foot and Mouth announced details of their new album, to be titled Under and released in December 2013. The band will reissue their four previous albums in digital form on bandcamp.com throughput the month of November.
New Facebook page >>>
New Bandcamp page >>>
Interview and story on Italian TV’s RAI2, on Hydromania
Watch video >>>
This infoscreen video ad for The Hilltop will appear on screens in trains and train stations across Austria between 18-24 November.
View video >>>
The Hilltop won the Bernstein Literary Prize for 2013.
From the jury’s decision: “In what was far from an obvious move, Gavron chose to… write a novel of great breadth, attempting to tackle the fundamental questions of the State of Israel… But make no mistake: The contemporary incarnation of the traditional role bravely fulfills the function of literature – that is, the ability to tell our story, allowing us to understand it, consider it and even contradict it. ‘The Hilltop’ is a courageous, skillful attempt to measure up to the tradition of the novel.”
The Bernstein Award is given annually for a book of literary prose and is considered one of most prestigious awards for Israeli fiction. The prize value is 50,000 Shekels.
Story in Haaretz >>>
“The Israeli writer Assaf Gavron straddles the deathly funny and deathly serious. In his novel Almost Dead, a man survives multiple suicide-bomb attacks and inadvertently becomes a national hero. His clever and subversive work, Eating Standing Up, focuses on an even more volatile target: falafel stands.”
Jewish website Jewniverse publishes a review by Matthue Roth of Eating Standing Up.
Read full review >>>
“This capacity for unconditional openness and thoughtful, ironic narration, makes him the most interesting political writer in his country”
Review of “The Hilltop” in Der Tagesspiegel, Germany.
Read full review (German) >>>
Interview about The Hilltop by Claudia Kuhener in Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger (German):
I will have two readings this weekend as part of the Israeli Literature Festival in Zurich, Switzerland, and Hohenems, Austria:
Saturday 28 September, 20:00, Literaturhaus Zurich >>>
Sunday 29 September, 16:30, Jewish Museum, Hohenems >>>
Preview in juedische-allgemeine >>>
Article in Austrian website >>>
Interview by Andreas Schneitter for Swiss newspaper Tages Woch.
Read article (German) >>>
The Hilltop is out today in German in Luchterhand / Random House.
Page on the publisher’s website: >>>
Page on Amazon: >>>
“The novel can be read in two very different ways, which, nonetheless, share points of contact. Gavron’s novel could be seen on the one hand as being a social-political tale, and on the other as emphasizing the human and moral intentions of its protagonists (the fate of the problematic brothers). Both directions offer the reader a plethora of brilliantly researched material and grippingly told stories.”
Review of the Auf Femdem Land,the German edition of The Hilltop, by Volker Kaminski in the multi-lingual website qantara.de.
Read full review (English) >>>
Read full review (German) >>>
My father always told me, “as long as they spell your name right, it doesn’t matter what they write.”
Well, they didn’t spell my name right, but this is apparently a very good review of The Hilltop in the newspaper of Basle, Switzerland.
Read review (Itaian) >>>
“Whenever the wind blows—and it usually does—it sounds like ping-pong. The thin, hollow plastic ball hitting the green varnished hardboard table, and the ropes whipping the thick, synthetic, polyester fabric as it waves around in the wind. To him they sound the same, and that’s what he always thinks about in that critical moment when the flag’s life begins: no longer a starched and folded piece of cloth in the corner of a white box, one more shirt in a massive grey closet, but a living, colorful creature that frolics in the wind, representing a foreign country with its own language, its own territory, its own people. That’s what he thinks about—a ping-pong ball’s sharp, high, plastic sound when it drops—while he hangs the flags.”
Today Costa Rica, a short story that appeared in the story collection Sex in the Cemetery in 2000, has a new English translation, published in Jewishfiction.net.
Read story >>>
Interview by Alessandra Tedesco on the Radio24 radio station in Italy.
Listen to the interview >>>
“Gavron is a truly original writer, among the most innovative voices in the Middle eastern literary scene”.
Review of Hydromania in the Italian daily, La Nazione.
“Among the glowing reviews garnered by Assaf Gavron’s latest novel, The Hilltop, earlier this year, was a wry comment that the book had been written virtually ready for translation. Shortly after that review appeared, the Israeli literary community began buzzing with rumors of the six-figure sums Gavron had received for The Hilltop’s translation rights (due out next month in German and in summer 2014 in English), confirming Gavron’s status, as one observer of the local literary scene put it, as ‘the most marketable Israeli writer of his generation’.”
Interview by Anshel Pfeffer in the Haaretz English edition.
Read full article in Haaretz >>>
Read here if you can’t access Haaretz >>>
Here are details of the first event promoting The Hilltop outside Israel – a reading in the literaturhaus in Zurich on 27th September, part of an Israeli literature festival. The following day there will be a reading in the Jewish Museum at Hohenems, Austria. Details for that will follow.
Details (German) >>>
For three weeks, in July-August, a food-truck roamed the streets of Jerusalem, serving varying dishes from changing guests in different neighborhoods of the city, as part of a co-production of the Jerusalem Season of Culture and the chef Asaf Granit from Machneyuda restaurant. I shared the reporting on the FoodTrip events with Hilla Alpert and Hedai Ofayim. Following are my reports:
9.8.13 Sinta Skewers with no guest at the techno parties at The Tower of David >>>
8.8.13 Surprising Stuffed Vegetables with Anat Hoffman at the YMCA >>>
7.8.13 Children’s Meal with Moran Mizrahi at Yemin Moshe >>>
3.8.13 Aubergine in Tomato Sauce with Rubi Rivlin at Denya Square >>>
29.7.13 Atayef with Matan Israeli at the Jaffa Gate >>>
27.7.13 Sausage and Chips Sandwich with Amit Aharonson at the Cinemateque >>> (No English translation)
20.7.13 Brick with Jackie Levy at The Moster >>>
19.7.13 Masala Dosa with Tomer Persico at the market >>>
WUZ, the biggest Italian Books website, has selected Hydromania as one of its “20 Great Reads for the Summer”.
Read full list >>>
“This is a beautiful discovery of a new book by Assaf Gavron. A great find. It is hard to find in contemporary Israeli literature a work which fits in the dystopian genre, with such a quality of writing and a capacity to hold the suspense for over two hundred pages that made me read it in one breath. This book takes a look at all the fears, obsessions and hopes of Israel, the way Orwell, Dick or Gibson did for the decadence of the Western world.”
Review of Hydromania by Ester Moscati in Italian-Jewish Mosaico Magazine.
Read full review (Italian) >>>
I will be appearing on Tuesday, July 23rd, 21:30 in conversation with Gigi Riva.
The event is part of the International Festival of Hebrew Literature and Culture in Rome, and coincides with the publication of Hydromania in Italian.
Full schedule of the festival (Italian) >>>
Hydromania was Book of the Day on the literary radio show “Farenheit”, on Italian RAI3 radio station. We went over and made an interview.
Listen online or download podcast (Italian) >>>
Another great review of the Italian edition of Hydromania in La Stampa.
Written by Elena Loewenthal.
Read full review (Italian) >>>
An apparently positive review of Hydromania’s Italian edition, by Michele De Mieri, in Italian daily’s Il sole24ore’s Sunday Culture supplement.
Read the review (Italian) >>>
An article in La Repubblica, Italy, by Marco mathieu, about the current generation of Israeli writers and about the Israel writers football team, which lost to Italy in the final of the Haifa International Tournament in June, 4:1.
Read article on La Repubblica site (Italian) >>>
See pages in Scribd >>>
Interview about Hydromania and life, by Lara Crino in Italian weekend magazine, Il Venerdi.
Read article (Italian) >>>
Hydromania is published this week in Italy, as Idromania, in La Giuntina publishers.
Publisher’s page >>>
Buy online >>>
Cover design: Ada Rothenberg.
Swedish author and journalist Fredrik Ekelund, who was in Israel for the Writers International Football tournament in Haifa in June, interviewed me for Sydsvenskan, the biggest newspaper in the south of Sweden.
Read the article (Swedish) >>>
The Hilltop features in the Haaretz Books Supplement summer reading supplement:
Settling for more
Liat Elkayam recommends ‘The Hilltop,’ for a holiday in Sinai
As someone who goes on vacation mainly to read books, over the years I’ve developed an array of tactics for selecting my holiday reading − all of which have proven lacking in some way. Worst of all is reading books in the places where they are set. “The Castle” in Prague? The Kafka book is so much more fun. “Under the Tuscan Sun” was way more enjoyable than the pastoral pasta inferno I went to. And unfortunately I just don’t have access to Jay McInerney’s New York. So these days, I opt for the opposite route and aim to read books as far from their point of origin as possible.
For the holiday I yearn for most − a hut in Sinai at Ras-Abu-Whatever − I would gladly, if paradoxically, take along Assaf Gavron’s “The Hilltop.” Firstly, because the cover looks good; and second, because a girl on a beach reading a book and laughing aloud always looks good. And “The Hilltop” is, first and foremost, a very funny novel.
It’s funny that the cruelest act of vengeance that a settler character can think of is to blow up a virtual Second Life mosque by means of Star-of-David-shaped spam. It’s funny when one of the settlers discovers that Matsumata, a Japanese agricultural institute, has cornered the market for authentic olive oil. And it’s even funnier because Matsumata messed up his deal with the Arabs from the neighboring village, which would have enabled him to make a little fortune at their expense as well as at the expense of bourgeois Tel Avivians. It should be obvious by now that this novel is also very political, firing sharp poisoned barbs in all directions.
But what really makes “The Hilltop” ascend to the top of the literary heap is the sharp movement between two antithetical poles of the storytelling craft. On one end you have the meticulously orchestrated analytic and ironic voice, which sends the reader to regions of reflection on the essence of Israeliness. This is the part that is focused on a place − on the fictional settlement Ma’aleh Hermesh C − and it pushes away the reader emotionally while demanding intellectual involvement.
While one hand repels, the other draws you in. For on the other pole you will find the keenest emotion, enough to rip the heart in two. Strewn throughout the book are segments that reveal the past and penetrate the conflicted consciousness of two of the main protagonists − Gabi and Ronny Cooper, the endearing, orphaned, former kibbutznik brothers who become settlers, each for his own fervent reasons.
These flashbacks offer glimpses of hideous, horrid scenes (most chilling of all is a scene in which the young Gabi is punished by anonymous kibbutzniks, who shove loads of maggots, beetles and snails into his mouth). I didn’t need Gavron to know that settlers are human beings. What I didn’t know is that this particular reader, a leftist-radical-agnostic girl, could fall in love, contrary to her own good sense, with a protagonist who is despicable by any standard.
And if that’s not a vacation, I don’t know what is.
Liat Elkayam is a television and popular culture analyst for Haaretz.
Read the Summer reading project >>>
Events and signing during Book Week:
Wednesday, 5/6/13, 18:00: Signing The Hilltop in the Books in the Attic / Yediot Sfarim area, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv.
Thursday, 6/6/13, 19:30: “Extras” in Bookworm bookshop, Maze Street, Tel Aviv. Details >>>
Sunday, 9/6/13, 20:30: Author event in the regional library Arava (Sapir Center, near Ein Yahav).
Monday, 10/6/13, 21:00: Signing The Hilltop in the Books in the Attic / Yediot Sfarim area, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv.
Wednesday, 12/6/13, 20:30: literary panel moderated by Rana Verbin, with Dror Mishani, Noa Yedlin and myself, at Bet Hasofer, 6 Kaplan Street, Tel Aviv.
Thursday, 13/6/13, 21:00: Signing The Hilltop in the Books in the Attic / Yediot Sfarim area, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv.
Saturday, 15/6/13, 21:00: Signing The Hilltop in the Books in the Attic / Yediot Sfarim area, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv.
“In some Tolstoynian manner, the situation itself is the protagonist of the novel; human agents serve as window dressing. Oddly, the novel describes these settlers in a way similar to Tolstoy’s descriptions of the nobility: as agents of history, with their passions, failings, and actions impacting others in ways that are tragic and momentous.”
“Situational Awareness”, paper by Uri S. Cohen on “The Hilltop”, published in American Jewish academic journal “Sh’ma”, as part of the Guns and Jews issue.
My debut novel, “ice”, originally published in 1997 and unavailable in print for some years, is now out in a new, enhanced digital edition.
The edition can be downloaded and read on any tablet or smartphone (Hebrew only), and is available at a special launch price of 28 NIS.
More details and buy on indiebook.co.il >>>
North American rights for The Hilltop were sold to Paul Whitlatch at Scribner Books, the excellent publisher of Don Delillo, Stephen King and many others, a division of Simon & Schuster.
The Hilltop will be published in The Netherlands by Nieuw Amsterdam and in Italy by La Giuntina. This adds to sales to Random House / luchterhand in Germany (to be published September 2013, and Books in the Attic in Israel (published January 2013).
An interview by Alexis Brunet in the French blog La Cause Litteraire.
Read interview >>>
Not sure when Assaf Gavron’s The Hilltop is due out in English but when it’s translated, make sure to read the only decent novel on settlers
— Anshel Pfeffer (@AnshelPfeffer) March 26, 2013
Selected in Time Out Tel Aviv’s “Sexiest People in Town” issue.
Reading from the first chapter of CrocAttack / Almost Dead, for the CultureBuzz project.
Interview about the new buses for Palestinian workers in the West Bank. Written by Alessandra Baduel.
Read Article >>>
Some translated excerpts from reviews of The Hilltop in the Israeli press (for a wider list, please see The Hilltop page in this website):
“An intense, funny and violent novel… a wonderful book… Gavron’s Magnum Opus, written with the pretension and dare of The Great Israeli Novel.” Yehuda Nuriel, Yediot Achronot.
“Gavron loves his characters. The settlers in The Hilltop are not ideological scarecrows, even when ideology has an important role in their lives. The Hilltop is not an anthropological book about the settlers. It is a story about a hill on which people live. A small hill in the middle of nowhere and in the middle of everywhere. It is a universal story, and also a very private story.” Motti Fogel, Achbar Ha’ir Magazine
“A groundbreaking attempt to move the focus to the settlement as the setting of the Israeli Story.” Yoni Livne, Yediot Achronot
“I’m always happy to read a new book by Assaf Gavron. from this generation he is really one of those who have the language and the ability to sweep you into a story with the speed of a crocodile collecting his prey down into the water. He simply plucks you into it and you are there. He achieves an almost impossible deed and manages to write about the settlers reality objectively, meaning, he is telling a story first. Wonderful.” Jacky Levi, GLZ Radio
“A dazzling novel… A clinically accurate and stunningly powerful description of the state of affairs in the twenty first century Israel. The Hilltop manages to connect emotionally to the situation and at the dame time to laugh at it from the outside.” Ran Bin-Nun, Yediot Achronot
“The Hilltop avoids didacticism and turns reality into a game between images, a game whose rules are so complex and vague that it is-and will remain-impossible to identify who the victor is.” Omri Herzog, Haaretz
“The Hilltop is a novel about human weaknesses, about the exhausting places that drive all of us and about the moment of clarity that sometimes awaken us, but paralize us in other moments. Assaf Gavron did not write a novel about the fact that we are all human beings, he simply wrote a novel about human beings.” Anat Gafni, Mako
The Hilltop goes up to no. 6 in the Haaretz independent book stores bestsellers list.
The Prix Courrier International 2012 was awarded in Paris for the novel Croc Attack.
Read and watch the full video >>>