A. B. Yehoshua

Abraham B. Yehoshua (Hebrew: א.ב. יהושע‎, born December 9, 1936) is an Israeli novelist, essayist, and playwright, published as A. B. Yehoshua. The New York Times called him the "Israeli Faulkner".[1]

A. B. Yehoshua
A B Yehoshua DSC0153.jpg
BornAvraham B. Yehoshua
(1936-12-09) December 9, 1936 (age 84)
Jerusalem, Mandatory Palestine
OccupationNovelist, essayist, short story writer, playwright
Alma materHebrew University of Jerusalem (BA, 1961)
Teachers College (1962)
Sorbonne (MA, French Literature)
Literary movementIsraeli "New Wave"
Notable worksMr. Mani (1990); The Lover (1977); "Facing the Forest"
Notable awardsAkum Prize
National Jewish Book Award
1990, 1993
Israel Prize for Literature
Los Angeles Times Book Prize
2006 A Woman in Jerusalem
SpouseDr. Rivka Kirsninski (m. 1960)


Avraham ("Boolie") Yehoshua was born to a fifth-generation Jerusalem family of Sephardi origin. His father, Yaakov Yehoshua, was a scholar and author specializing in the history of Jerusalem. His mother, Malka Rosilio, immigrated from Morocco in 1932. He grew up in Jerusalem's Kerem Avraham neighborhood.[2]

Yehoshua served as a paratrooper in the Israeli army from 1954 to 1957. He attended Gymnasia Rehavia.[3] After studying literature and philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he began teaching. He lived in Jerusalem's Neve Sha'anan neighborhood.[4]

From 1963 to 1967, Yehoshua lived and taught in Paris and served as the General Secretary of the World Union of Jewish Students. Since 1972, he has taught Comparative and Hebrew Literature at the University of Haifa, where he holds the rank of Full Professor.[5] In 1975 he was a writer-in-residence at St Cross College, Oxford. He has also been a visiting professor at Harvard (1977), the University of Chicago (1988, 1997, 2000) and Princeton (1992).

Yehoshua was married to Rivka, a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst, until her death in 2016. They have a daughter, two sons, and six grandchildren.

Literary careerEdit

Yehoshua with his wife, Rivka (1990s)

From the end of his military service, Yehoshua began to publish fiction. His first book of stories, Mot Hazaken (The Death of the Old Man), was published in 1962. He became a prominent figure in the "new wave" generation of Israeli writers, who differed from their predecessors in focussing more closely on the individual, and on interpersonal concerns, rather than the psychology of a group. Yehoshua names Franz Kafka, Shmuel Yosef Agnon,[6] and William Faulkner as formative influences.[7] Harold Bloom wrote an article about Yehoshua's A Late Divorce in The New York Times,[8] mentioning the work again in his The Western Canon.[9]

Yehoshua is the author of eleven novels, three books of short stories, four plays, and four collections of essays, including Ahizat Moledet (Homeland Lesson, 2008), a book of reflections on identity and literature. His best received novel, Mr Mani, is a multigenerational look at Jewish identity and Israel through five conversations that go backwards in time to cover over 200 years of Jewish life in Jerusalem and around the Mediterranean basin.[10] It was adapted for television as a five-part multilingual series by director Ram Loevy. As do many of his works, his eighth novel, Friendly Fire, explores the nature of dysfunctional family relationships[10] in a drama that moves back and forth between Israel and Tanzania.[11] His works have been translated and published in 28 countries; many have been adapted for film, television, theatre, and opera.

Views and opinionsEdit

Yehoshua is an Israeli Peace Movement activist. He freely airs his political views in essays and interviews, and attended the signing of the Geneva Accord. Yehoshua is both a long-standing critic of the Israeli occupation and also of Palestinian political culture.[10] He and other intellectuals mobilized on behalf of the dovish New Movement before the 2009 elections in Israel.[12]

According to La Stampa, before the 2008–2009 Israel-Gaza conflict he published an appeal to Gaza residents urging them to end the violence. He explained why the Israeli operation was necessary and why it needed to end: "Precisely because the Gazans are our neighbors, we need to be proportionate in this operation. We need to try to reach a cease-fire as quickly as possible. We will always be neighbors, so the less blood is shed, the better the future will be. Yehoshua added that he would be happy for the border crossings to be opened completely and for Palestinians to work in Israel as part of a cease-fire.[13]

Yehoshua was criticized by the American Jewish community for his statement that a "full Jewish life could only be had in the Jewish state." He claimed that Jews elsewhere were only "playing with Judaism."[10]"Diaspora Judaism is masturbation," Yehoshua told editors and reporters at The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he said, it is "the real thing."[14]

Recognition and awardsEdit

Mr. Mani manuscript, National Library of Israel


....[Diaspora Jews] change [their] nationalities like jackets. Once they were Polish and Russian; now they are British and American. One day they could choose to be Chinese or Singaporean...For me, Avraham Yehoshua, there is no alternative... I cannot keep my identity outside Israel. [Being] Israeli is my skin, not my jacket.[21]

The majority of the public here is telling you this explicitly... It also doesn't want more Jewish immigration. It is crowded enough here.

The Palestinians are in a situation of insanity reminiscent of the insanity of the German people in the Nazi period. The Palestinians are not the first people that the Jewish people has driven insane.

(Subsequent clarification by Yehoshua) I ask myself a question that must be asked: What brought the Germans and what is bringing the Palestinians to such hatred of us? ... We have a tough history. We came here out of a Jewish experience, and the settlements are messing it up.[22]

[W]e are not bent on killing Palestinian children to avenge the killing of our children. All we are trying to do is get their leaders to stop this senseless and wicked aggression, and it is only because of the tragic and deliberate mingling between Hamas fighters and the civilian population that children, too, are unfortunately being killed. The fact is that since the disengagement, Hamas has fired only at civilians. Even in this war, to my astonishment, I see that they are not aiming at the army concentrations along the border but time and again at civilian communities.[23]

Works translated into EnglishEdit


  • The Lover [Ha-Me'ahev, 1977]. Garden City N.Y., Doubleday, 1978 (translated by Philip Simpson). Dutton, 1985. Harvest/HBJ, 1993. ISBN 978-0-15-653912-8. London, Halban Publishers, 2004, 2007. ISBN 1870015-91-6.
  • A Late Divorce [Gerushim Meuharim, 1982]. London, Harvill Press, 1984. Garden City N.Y., Doubleday, 1984. London, Sphere/Abacus Books, 1985. New York, Dutton, 1985. San Diego, Harcourt Brace, 1993. ISBN 978-0-15-649447-2. London, Halban Publishers 2005. ISBN 187-0-01-5959.
  • Five Seasons [Molcho, 1987]. New York, Doubleday, 1989. New York, Dutton Obelisk, 1989. London, Collins, 1989. Harmondsworth, Penguin Books, 1990. London, Fontana, 1990, ISBN 978-1-870015-94-3. London, Halban Publishers, 2005, ISBN 1870015-94-0.
  • Mr. Mani [Mar Mani, 1989]. New York, Doubleday, 1992. London, Collins, 1992. London, Peter Halban, 1993, 2002 ISBN 1-870015-77-0. San Diego, Harvest/HBJ, 1993. London, Phoenix/Orion Books, 1994. ISBN 978-1-85799-185-7.
  • Open Heart [Ha-Shiv`a Me-Hodu (The Return from India), 1994]. Garden City N.Y., Doubleday, 1995. London, Halban Publishers, 1996, ISBN 978-1-87-001563-9. San Diego, Harvest/HBJ, 1997. ISBN 978-0-15-600484-8.[24]
  • A Journey to the End of the Millennium [Masah El Tom Ha-Elef, 1997]. New York, Doubleday & Co., 1999. London, Peter Halban, 1999. ISBN 1-870015-71-1.
  • The Liberated Bride [Ha-Kala Ha-Meshachreret, 2001]. London, Peter Halban, 2003, 2004, 2006. ISBN 1-870015-86-X.
  • A Woman in Jerusalem [Shlihuto Shel Ha-memouneh Al Mashabei Enosh (The Human Resources Supervisor's Mission), 2004]. London, Halban Publishers, 2006, 2011. ISBN 978-1-905559-24-4. New York, Harcourt, 2006. ISBN 978-0-15-101226-8.
  • Friendly Fire: A Duet [Esh Yedidutit, 2007] London, Halban Publishers, 2008, ISBN 978-1-905559-19-0. New York, Harcourt 2008, ISBN 978-0-15-101419-4.
  • The Retrospective [חסד ספרדי]. New York, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013. ISBN 978-0-547496-96-2. London, Halban Publishers, 2013. ISBN 978-1-905559-56-5.
  • The Extra, 2014
  • The Tunnel, New York, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt The Tunnel, 2020 August 4 ISBN 978-1-328622-55-6. London, Halban Publishers The Tunnel, 2020 February 27 ISBN 978-1-912600-03-8.[25]

Short storiesEdit

  • Early in the Summer of 1970 [Bi-Thilat Kayitz, 1970, 1972]. Garden City N.Y., Doubleday, 1977. London, Heinemann, 1980. New York, Berkley Publishing, 1981. London, Fontana Paperbacks, 1990. ISBN 978-0-385-02590-4
  • Three Days and a Child [Shlosha Yamim Ve-Yeled, 1975]. Garden City N.Y., Doubleday, 1970. London, Peter Owen, 1971. ISBN 978-0-7206-0161-9
  • The Continuing Silence of a Poet. London, Peter Halban, 1988, 1999, ISBN 1-870015-73-8. London, Fontana Paperbacks, 1990. London, New York, Penguin, 1991. Syracuse, N.Y., Syracuse University Press, 1998. ISBN 978-0-8156-0559-1



  • A Night in May [Layla Be-May, 1975]. Tel Aviv, Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature, 1974.
  • Possessions [Hafatzim, 1986]. Portsmouth, Heinemann, 1993.
  • Journey to the End of the Millennium, libretto for opera with music by Yosef Bardnaashvili. Premiered at Israeli Opera, May 2005.
  • A Tale of Two Zionists. A play of 1934 meeting of Vladimir Jabotinsky and David Ben-Gurion 2012

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Extra strong
  2. ^ Golani Motti (2004). ""If I lived there it would crush me" Jerusalem from the Biographical to the Historical and Back: A Conversation with A. B. Yehoshua". Journal of Israeli History. 23 (2): 279–300. doi:10.1080/1353104042000282429. S2CID 161458710.
  3. ^ Alan L. Mintz (October 1, 1997). The boom in contemporary Israeli fiction. UPNE. pp. 127–8. ISBN 978-0-87451-830-6. Retrieved August 29, 2011.
  4. ^ Becker, Avihai (April 24, 2009). "Catch '74". Haaretz. Archived from the original on April 28, 2009.
  5. ^ Feld, Ross. "Restless Souls Archived February 13, 2005, at the Wayback Machine: The novels of Israeli writer A. B. Yehoshua create their own diaspora." Boston Review, 2000.
  6. ^ On Yehoshua's indebtedness to Agnon: “The ‘Double Triangle’ Paradigm in Hebrew Fiction: National Redemption in Bi-generational Love Triangles
  7. ^ Wiley, David. ""Talkin' 'bout his generation: Israeli writer A.B. Yehoshua on the waning art of the democratic novel."". Archived from the original on January 18, 2008. Retrieved March 27, 2017.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) Minnesota Daily, 1997.
  8. ^ Bloom, Harold. Domestic Derangements; A Late Divorce, By A.B. Yehoshua Translated by Hillel Halkin, The New York Times, February 19, 1984. Retrieved May 5, 2012
  9. ^ Bloom, Harold, The Western Canon New York: Harcourt Brace & Co, 1994, 559
  10. ^ a b c d A.B. Yehoshua's 'Friendly Fire' – The New York Times
  11. ^ Gerald Sorin (November 23, 2008). "Dark continent, dark prophecies". Haaretz.
  12. ^ Benny Morris (December 14, 2008). "Israel's crisis of leadership". Los Angeles Times.
  13. ^ Maya Sela (December 30, 2008). "Amos Oz: Hamas responsible for outbreak of Gaza violence". Haaretz.
  14. ^ https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Leaving-Israel-379021
  15. ^ "List of Bialik Prize recipients 1933–2004 (in Hebrew), Tel Aviv Municipality website" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 17, 2007.
  16. ^ "Israel Prize Official Site – Recipients in 1995 (in Hebrew)". Archived from the original on December 27, 2008.
  17. ^ "Past Winners". Jewish Book Council. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
  18. ^ Yehoshua wins French literary prize for 'The Retrospective', Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), November 7, 2012.
  19. ^ "Author Jamaica Kincaid wins Israeli Dan David Prize". Haaretz.com. Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  20. ^ Prize, Dan David. "A. B. Yehoshua". www.dandavidprize.org. Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  21. ^ from a speech delivered at the opening panel of the centennial celebration of the American Jewish Committee. Jerusalem Post Article, AJN Article at the Wayback Machine (archived September 17, 2008)
  22. ^ A. B. Yehoshua at an academic conference, Jerusalem Post, June 21, 2002 http://www.jpost.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/Full&cid=1023716529742 Archived May 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ A. B. Yehoshua (January 16, 2009). "An open letter to Gideon Levy". Haaretz.
  24. ^ Open Heart
  25. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/04/books/review/tunnel-ab-yehoshua.html He’s Losing His Mind. Maybe His Country Is Too? The New York Times, 4 August 2020

Further readingEdit


  1. Halevi-Wise, Yael The Retrospective Imagination of A. B. Yehoshua (University Park, PA: Penn State University Press, 2020). http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-08785-6.html
  2. Horn, Bernard. Facing the Fires: Conversations with A. B. Yehoshua (Syracuse: University of Syracuse Press, 1998).
  3. Miron, Dan. A. B. Yehoshua’s Ninth-and-a-Half:An “Ashkenazi” Perspective on Two “Sephardic” Novels [Hebrew]. Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuhad, 2011.
  4. Balaban, Avraham. Mr. Molcho: In the Opposite Direction: An Analysis of A. B. Yehoshua’s Mr. Mani and Molcho [Hebrew].Tel Aviv: Ha-kibbutzha-meuchad, 1992.
  5. Banbaji, Amir, NitzaBen Dov and Ziva Shamir, eds. Intersecting Perspectives: Essays on A. B.Yehoshua’s Oeuvre [Hebrew]. Tel Aviv: Ha-kibbutz ha-meuchad, 2010.
  6. Ben-Dov, Nitza, ed. In the Opposite Direction: Articles on Mr. Mani [Hebrew]. Tel Aviv: Ha-kibbutz ha-meuhad, 1995.
  7. Morahg, Gilead. Furious Compassion: The Fiction of A. B. Yehoshua [Hebrew]. Tel Aviv: Dvir, 2014.

Journal articlesEdit

  1. Gershon Shaked Interviews A. B. Yehoshua By: Shaked, Gershon; Modern Hebrew Literature, 2006 Fall; 3: 157–69.
  2. A Haifa Life: The Israeli Novelist Talks about Ducking into His Safe Room, Competition among His Writer Friends and Trying to Stay Optimistic about Peace in the Middle East By: Solomon, Deborah; New York Times Magazine, July 30, 2006; 13.
  3. In the Back Yard of Agnon's House: Between The Liberated Bride by A. B. Yehoshua and S. Y. Agnon By: Ben-Dov, Nitza; Hebrew Studies: A Journal Devoted to Hebrew Language and Literature, 2006; 47: 237–51.
  4. Yael Halevi-Wise, "The Watchman’s Stance in A. B. Yehoshua’s Fiction," Hebrew Studies 58 (2017): 357–382.
  5. Talking with A. B. Yehoshua By: Naves, Elaine Kalman; Queen's Quarterly, 2005 Spring; 112 (1): 76–86.
  6. Yael Halevi-Wise, “La formation d’une identité israélienne dans l’ouvre de A.B. Yehoshua.” Une journée avec Avraham Yehoshua: Revue Lacanienne 30 (2016): 161–172.
  7. The Silence of the Historian and the Ingenuity of the Storyteller: Rabbi Amnon of Mayence and Esther Minna of Worms By: Yuval, Israel Jacob; Common Knowledge, 2003 Spring; 9 (2): 228–40.
  8. The Plot of Suicide in A. B. Yehoshua and Leo Tolstoy By: Horn, Bernard; European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms, 2001 Oct; 6 (5): 633–38.
  9. The Originary Scene, Sacrifice, and the Politics of Normalization in A. B. Yehoshua's Mr. Mani By: Katz, Adam; Anthropoetics: The Electronic Journal of Generative Anthropology, 2001 Fall-2002 Winter; 7 (2): 9 paragraphs.
  10. Borderline Cases: National Identity and Territorial Affinity in A. B. Yehoshua's Mr. Mani By: Morahg, Gilead; AJS Review 30:1, 2006: 167–182.
  11. Yael Halevi-Wise, "Holidays in A. B. Yeshoshua's Opus and Ethos," Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal Studies 35.2 (2017): 55–80.
  12. The Perils of Hybridity: Resisting the Post-Colonial Perspective in A. B. Yehoshua's The Liberating Bride By: Morahg, Gilead; AJS Review 33:2, 2009: 363–378.
  13. Portrait of the Artist as an Aging Scholar: A. B. Yehoshua's The Liberating Bride By: Morahg, Gilead; Hebrew Studies 50, 2009: 175–183.
  14. Early Warnings: The Grim Vision of The Liberating Bride By: Morahg, Gilead; Mikan 10, 2010: 5–18.
  15. Ranen Omer-Sherman, “On the verge of a long-craved intimacy’: Distance and Proximity Between Jews and Arab Identities in A. B. Yehoshua's The Liberated Bride,” Journal of Jewish Identities 2.1 (2009): 55- 84.
  16. Yael Halevi-Wise, “Where is the Sephardism in A. B. Yehoshua’s Hesed Sefardi/The Retrospective?” Sephardic Horizons 4.1 (2014): http://www.sephardichorizons.org/

Book articlesEdit

  1. Horn, Bernard. "Sephardic Identity and Its Discontents: The Novels of A. B. Yehoshua" in Sephardism: Spanish Jewish History and the Modern Literary Imagination, Ed. Yael Halevi-Wise (Stanford University Press, 2012).
  2. Halevi-Wise, Yael. "A. B. Yehoshua’s Mr. Mani and the Playful Subjectivity of History,” in Interactive Fictions: Scenes of Storytelling in the Novel. Westport, CT & London: Praeger, 2003. 132–145.
  3. Morahg, Gilead. Shading the Truth: A. B. Yehoshua's 'Facing the Forests' IN: Cutter and Jacobson, History and Literature: New Readings of Jewish Texts in Honor of Arnold J. Band. Providence, RI: Program in Judaic Studies, Brown University; 2002. pp. 409–18
  4. Feldman, Yael. Between Genesis and Sophocles: Biblical Psychopolitics in A. B. Yehoshua's Mr. Mani IN: Cutter and Jacobson, History and Literature: New Readings of Jewish Texts in Honor of Arnold J. Band. Providence, RI: Program in Judaic Studies, Brown University; 2002. pp. 451–64
  5. Morahg, Gilead. A Story of Sweet Perdition: Mr. Mani and the Terrible Power of a Great Obsession. IN: Banbaji, Ben-Dov and Shamir, Intersecting Perspectives: Essays on A. B. Yehoshua’s Oeuvre. Hakibbutz Hameuchad (Tel Aviv, 2010), pp. 213–225.

External linksEdit