Nir Baram gave a substantive interview to Haaretz about his new novel and many other issues.
An Acclaimed Israeli Novelist Calls for a Moral Revolution
Nir Baram, whose new novel, ‘At Night’s End,’ is his most personal work yet, talks about the death of his mother and the suicide of his best friend, and what he has learned from interviewing settlers and Palestinians
At the age of 42, Nir Baram has already achieved the status of a leading Israeli writer. He is exceptional in the breadth and complex structure of his novels, whose plots unfold in different time dimensions, are mediated by means of multiple narrators and address political, moral and social issues.
Baram’s new Hebrew-language novel, “Yekitzah” (English title: “At Night’s End”; Am Oved Publishers), is his first personal work of fiction. It was preceded by “The Remaker of Dreams” (2006), “Good People” (2010) and “World Shadow” (2013). With their panoplies of characters, diverse locales and range of periods, those three novels recall Russian novels or other classical works, though with the addition of Baram’s distinctive style, rife with descriptions and metaphors….
to read the whole interview click read more
“One of the best coming of age novels I have ever read. A beautiful novel that describes the journey of a boy into adolescence in the midst of life’s turmoil – with the threatening progress of his mother’s disease, his longing for his estranged brother and his busy father, and above all his friendship with his best friend from childhood until they are both grown men.”
Review in Salona by Keren Agmon
The great Israeli writer A.B Yehoshua about “At Night’s Eed: “One of the best coming of age novels I have read in years. Beautiful, touching, written with the integrity of a true writer. An unforgettable story of love, friendship, family and death.”
Yehoshua is the winner of numerous international prizes, The New York Times called him the “Israeli Faulkner”
Nir Baram new novel “At Night’s End” will be published in Israel on 1/5/2018 by Am Oved publishing house.
A writer wakes up in a hotel room in an unfamiliar city. His clothes are muddy and he doesn’t know how long he’s been lying in bed. He came to participate in a literary festival that is long over—why is he still there? When he desperately attempts to reconstruct his lost days, he learns that he told people at the festival that his best friend had died.
Except that his friend is still alive.
This disorienting state launches the story of a profound friendship that begins in childhood and follows the intertwining life paths of two men. Over the decades, their journeys diverge and reconverge, as the imaginary worlds of their early days gradually fade but never vanish.
The protagonist, Yonatan, stays on in Mexico City, resisting the unavoidable return to his wife and infant son back home in Tel Aviv. Faced with the terrifying certainty that his closest friend, Yoel, is going to die, he struggles to preserve his sanity. But why does the impending death—which may or may not in fact happen—frighten him so much that he opts to stay in a foreign country far away from his family? And Why doesn’t he believe he can go back to Israel and save his childhood friend?
The narrative travels smoothly back and forth in time to depict a powerful friendship, its inevitable and painful dissolution, and the waning power of youthful imagination. Taking place in Israel, the events unfold under the constant shadow of animosity between Arabs and Jews, and the societal demand that boys be men. Above all, this is a universal story of family and love, friendship and fatherhood, the savage forces of memory, imagination and writing, and the life one leads after losing a loved one—a life that can still prove surprising.
Barams book “Land without borders” in JQ Wingate literary Prize long list with Amos oz, Nicole Krauss and othersDecember 10, 2017
“Land without borders” in JQ Wingate literary Prize long list with Amos oz, Nicole Krauss and others.
The longlist for the 2018 JQ (Jewish Quarterly) Wingate Prize has been announced, with “identity” singled out as this year’s overriding theme. Twelve books have been selected,
The translator Jessica Cohen, winner of 2017 Man Booker International Prize for David Grossman’s novel “A Horse Walks Into a Bar”: finished the translation of Nir baram novel “World shadow”. In a post in Facebook she wrote about the translation
“Translating is writing. That is clear to all of us translators. And I never feel more like a writer than I do during those heart-pounding moments of anxiety as I prepare to let go and submit my work to the publisher. I’ve just done that with my 17th (!) book translation.
“World Shadow” is a long, ambitious, smart, political, personal, global, local, emotional, intellectual, unlike-anything-else novel by the hugely talented Nir Baram. It’ll take a while, but I can’t wait for this book to get out there and do its thing already!”
Land without Borders documentary directed by Nir Baram and Michael Alalu (62 mintues) is based on Nir Baram Non fiction book “Land withour Borders (Text 2017)
Award-winning writer Nir Baram grew up in a political household. Both his father and grandfather were members of the Knesset and Ministers in the Israeli Labor Party governments. As Baram begins to lose faith in even the possibility of a two-state solution, he decides to travel throughout the West Bank to speak with the local populations on both sides of the conflict. He learns that in crucial substantive ways, the two groups don’t start from a common foundation. So how can they even participate in the same conversation? While the international focus of a two-state solution generally revolves around the “Green Line,” the average West Bank Palestinian on the street cares little about 1967 political borders when they desire the land they lost in 1948. These surprising revelations force Baram to challenge his entire political belief system and reevaluate his own hopes for a peaceful resolution to this conflict.
Sat 11/4 6:45pm JCC Manhattan
Sun 11/5 4:00pm NYU
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In an Article about the most important books regarding 50 years of the 1967 war Nir Baram book received great review: “The great virtue of his book is that Baram lets his interlocutors speak for themselves : To hear it from the people who currently live in the occupied territories — 650,000 Jewish settlers and 2.7 million Palestinians — it is now as much a zero-sum game as ever. Their voices come through in A LAND WITHOUT BORDERS: My Journey Around East Jerusalem and the West Bank (Text Publishing, paper, $16.95), a wide-ranging travelogue from Nir Baram, an Israeli novelist, translated by Jessica Cohen…
Nir Baram was interviewed by Brian Lehrer in his Radio show in WNYC Radio about ‘Land without Borders’
Click read more to listen
A kirkus star review for A land without Borders: “From horror to fatigue to indifference, an important look forward and back that provides a grass-roots sense that one state needs to satisfy sovereignty for all.”
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An interesting review about Good People in Times Literary Supplement
“Good People chillingly captures the terrors and tensions of life under Stalin and Hitler.”
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Nir Baram story in the New yorker:
“At night I used to pad up and down the dark hallways in our house and stop outside my parents’ bedroom. Bending over to squint through the keyhole, I could see my mother’s slight body huddled on the right side of the bed underneath heavy covers, her head disappearing among them. Ever since her body was consigned to the disease, my mother had been melancholy. She squabbled with fate, demanded an explanation (I’ve never harmed a soul, she insisted), and quoted the Psalm we always recited at the annual memorial service for her mother, my grandmother Sarah: “Princes have persecuted me without a cause.”
to read the whole story click read more
The Economist with a great review on Good people:
“Not monsters or even cynics, he answers in a pacey, plot-heavy novel of dramatic events and big ideas, but gifted storytellers fuelled by ordinary motives of love, loyalty or ambition. Blessed or cursed by the “elasticity of the human soul”, they wield this suppleness of spirit as “the hidden hand that smoothed out every wrinkle in the flag of truth”
Nir Baram in “Meet the Author” in the Guardian: How do we work and live in a society that we consider unjust?
This book looks at the second world war from the perspective of two characters, Sasha and Thomas, who collaborate with Stalin and Hitler respectively. What interested you about that subject?
“In Israel, the second world war and the Holocaust are something you grow up with. At school, in the army, you sometimes feel that the Holocaust is shoved down your throat. But in literature you tend to come across the usual character types: either the bureaucrats such as Eichmann, or the highly perverse caricature of a Nazi. In contrast, I wanted to look at the role of brilliant and creative people, kind of “free spirits”, who happened to find themselves living under those regimes. Sasha, for example, may not agree with the objectives of the NKVD, but working for them provides her first chance to shine, and an opportunity to realise her talents.”
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Review about World Shadow by Antje Deistler in Deutschlandfunk:
“In präziser, dichter Prosa widmet sich Nir Baram dem ausufernden Thema “Globalisierung”. Und dass daraus nicht die abgegriffen-sprichwörtliche schwere Kost, sondern ein auf höchst intelligente Weise unterhaltsamer Roman geworden ist, hat mit den glänzenden Fähigkeiten des 40-jährigen Schriftstellers zu tun. Stellen Sie sich also eher einen Goldbarren vor als einen Backstein.”
“Dabei will Baram weniger erklären als Fragen aufwerfen. Vieles bleibt absichtlich vage, dunkel und so undurchsichtig wie die vernetzte, globalisierte Welt selbst. Keiner blickt mehr durch, das große Ganze versteht niemand in diesem Buch, und dem Leser geht es konsequenterweise oft genauso. Dass man trotzdem, oder gerade deshalb, gefesselt bis zum niederschmetternden Ende weiterliest, ist der großen Kunst von Nir Baram zu verdanken.”
To read full review click read more
This is maybe the most profound review about “The land beyond the mountains” (Im Land der Verzweiflung) so Far which was written by the prominent Palestinian Writer Ala Hlehel, one of the most important voices in the Palestinian society.
“Documentary literature is supposed to work against this type of writing: To the greatest degree possible, it should nullify the personal desires of the writer, and strive to construct an “objective” reality. Baram may not be 100 percent dedicated to this premise, but he certainly succeeds in providing a stage for that sort of reality, where it (the reality) features as the main protagonist, constructed from situations, interviews, monologues, inner thoughts and descriptions. He also dispenses with the pretense of being an objective journalist, and succeeds in maintaining his artistic style with a clear, characteristic technique. This is one of the book’s major achievements.”
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World Shadow was chosen as one of the recommended novels by the editorial team of the ZDF- “Das Literarische Quartett”July 17, 2016
World Shadow was chosen as one of the recommended novels by the editorial team of the ZDF- “Das Literarische Quartett”
“Nir Baram gilt als große Entdeckung der hebräischen Literatur. Zu Recht… Spannend wie ein Polit-Thriller kritisiert dieser Roman die globale Gier nach Geld und ruft zum Gegenentwurf auf.”
3 months after publication the critically acclaimed Non-fiction book by Nir Baram which dominated the best-sellers list in the past 10 weeks is again number 1 in the Best-sellers list.
First review for Good people in Australia was published in the national newspaper “The Australian” by the known reviewer Helen Elliott :”This is not a flawless novel but it is tremendous. I read it in two sittings and I learned a lot. How does a man in his early 30s know how to write like this?”
to read the full review click: read more
Nir Baram’s first Nonfiction book, which describes his one-year journey in the West bank and East Jerusalem will be published in Hebrew this February by Am Oved publishing house, and then later that month in Germany by Hanser Verlag: (“Im Land der Verzweiflung”). Baram began his journey a couple of months before the war in Gaza (summer 2014) and finished it in the end of 2015 after the new wave of violence erupts. Some of the chapters were published in Haaretz newspaper.
Baram meets a variety of people over the course of this journey: Palestinian-Israeli citizens trapped behind the Separation Wall in Jerusalem, a real no man’s land where neighborhoods have no municipal rule; children living in Kibbutz Nirim who experienced the war in Gaza, the rockets raining down on their homes; young Palestinians, the close friends of the Palestinian boy who was murdered by Jews. He experiences things like being held-up at occupation checkpoints with Palestinian laborers; meeting ex-prisoners from Hamas who have started a Hebrew language school in Ramallah, and ex-prisoners from Fatah who spent years detained in Israeli jails and who are now promoting a new peace initiative. He gets into a secluded settlers’ stronghold in the West Bank, and near Nablus he comes across two Palestinian boys tied up by the side of the road after allegedly trying to stab Israeli soldiers, only to find that the truth is something entirely different.
As the reportage is being written, both major and minor events take place throughout region: riots in the Temple Mount, the abduction of three Jewish boys, the murder of an Arab boy in Jerusalem, the war in Gaza, the building of a new Palestinian city, elections in Israel, a new wave of violence. Baram returns time and again to Jerusalem, the city where he was born and raised, discovering a huge, sprawling city that stretches to include places he’d never even heard of as a boy; a city where a hushed civil war is in full swing.
World shadow publisher in The Netherlands and Belgium Released a cool and short trailer with many reviews: 5 stars in Nrc, 5 stars in Volkskrant, 5 stars in De Standaard, 4 stars in De morgen.
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de Volskatrat, one of The Netherlands most important newspapers, also publish a 5 stars review about world shadow: “An ambitious novel without borders. This is Hamlet of the 21st Century.”
to read full review online press: read more
In a long one page review “world Shadow” receives 5 stars (the highest rate) in NRC book supplement. The review was written by the editor of the supplement Michel Krielaars:
“After ‘Good People’ Baram, the best young writer in Israel, proves his telnet once again with an overwhelming novel. As soon as you have finished World Shadow, you seriously wonder how it is possible a world strike hasn’t broken out in the real world, this is how shocked you are about the perverse workings of the system which Baram confronts you with. After finishing this brilliant written and Frighteningly urgent novel you are convinced something drastically has to change in our society dominated by hunger for money and power. For this fact alone Baram deserves a place in the front line of modern literature”
to read the whole review press read more
Nir Baram’s one year journey in the occupied West Bank which documented in the reportage “walking the green line” (Haaretz newspaper) finished in the Palestinian village of Bartta with these words: “In a deeper sense, we need to acknowledge the fact that the situation will not change as a result of a peace deal in the Camp David or Geneva style, and that the problem does not lie in plans for an agreement. Indeed, there are plenty of creative plans, some of which were discussed in this series. In order to create the conditions that are required for a solution of the conflict, in order for us to be able to address all the possible “solutions,” a moral upheaval is required within Israeli society, based on the acceptance of one simple principle: whether in one state, two states or a confederation, Jew and non-Jew must be equal in all respects.The Jewish-Israeli propaganda machinery is dedicated to undercutting that principle, to turning it into a fantastical whisper of the naive. But that is the principle – not two states or one state – that must never be compromised.”
A review in Mleinio, one of Mexico most important newspapers: “This novel is so brilliant and powerful, and the music of the language is so pure and marvelous that i almost cried when i finished it. Baram is one of the best writers in the world today”
“World Shadow’ may be the most impressive novel that was written about this era of discontent. And now we are not talking just about the great characters but about psychology, politics, and violence.”
An outstanding review about “World shadow” in El Pais, the most important newspaper in the Spanish world: “Tremendous description of the evils passions, and hopes that shape the world today. One of the most ambitious novels I have ever read. A lucid and torrential story of revolution, politics and defeat…You can hear in world shadow echoes of the underworld by Don Delillo, Echoes of rebellion, commitment, literature.”
«Tremenda descripción de los males, pulsiones y esperanzas que recorren el mundo actual. De lo más ambicioso que he leído. Un relato lúcido y torrencial de la revolución, la política y la derrota.»
WORLD SHADOW first publication outside of Israel will be in SPANISH BY AlfAGUARA on the 26/3/2015. In Israel the novel spent 4 months in the Best Seller list, including number 1, sold 20,000 copies, chosen as the book of the year by TIME-OUT magazine and Maariv newspaper, received raving reviews and was in the list of the Sapir prize.
World Shadow is in the list for the Sapir Prize 2014. The Sapir Prize for Literature of Israel is the most important annual literary award presented for a work of fine literature. This is Nir Barams third nomination for his last three novels. His last two was also shortlisted.
The famous and popular columnist of Haaretz Neri Livneh also writes about World shadow: ” This great novel is the only good thing to emerge from the social protest that took place two summers ago…There are three different voices in the book in three completely different styles. There is the voice of the individual, Gavriel Mansour, the tragic hero of the book. Mansour’s voice is heard through the narrator in beautiful Hebrew with a wonderful power of description. The other voices are delivered directly, without the narrator’s mediation. There is the voice of the American campaigners, whose polished, witty and purposeful style is expressed in their email exchanges. The voice of the protesters, who are trying to organize a worldwide strike with one billion participants, is also heard directly.”
Shelly Yachimovich the head of the Israeli opposition in parliament wrote on her facebook page about “world shadow” (her post got more than 2000 likes and hundreds of comments):
Nir Baram’s World Shadow delves into the viscera of crony capitalism in Israel and similar arenas around the world. It explores the methods in which capital-intensive campaigns fabricate reality, what the next mass protest could look like, and how unbridled, insatiable greed, which no one even attempts to restrain, leads to… well, you’ll find out all about that in the book.
This is the most intelligent, insightful and thought-provoking documentation written to date of the economic, social, moral and cultural processes that are sending seismic waves throughout our world.
The novel is highly political, yet contains no moral sermons – it is a fun read. Baram has no pity for those in power or for their victims. He is cynical and empathetic towards everyone equally. And yet, despite having setting himself the rule of not taking a stand (and this is a good thing, because reading manifestos in novels is such a turn off), he manages to place a huge warning sign: when there are no balancing and restraining forces – there comes a moment where everything falls apart, and it doesn’t necessarily make the world a better place.
“A real literary achievement. Surely one of the most impressive novels that were written in Hebrew in the past years. It is a mind-blowing epos that raises big questions about the human spirit, democracy, morals and violence.” 15/08/2013
(Ha’aretz Culture Supplement)
To read the whloe interview in English, please click ‘read more’
“‘World Shadow’ is an astonishingly ambitious novel; it holds great promise and delivers on this promise and far more in the most admirable and brilliant way. A novel that while reading it one can close his eyes, and hear the wings of history clap.”
(Yedioth Ahronot, Ran Ben-Nun)
For the full review in English, click ‘read more’
NRC Handelsblad – On the front page of the most important literary supplement in the Netherlands there was a 2 page review on Good People.
The novel also got 5 stars out of 5: “With Good People the young Israeli author Nir Baram has written about the terrors of living under the regimes of Stalin and Hitler. It is done so majestically that it reaches the same level as books by Varlam Shalamov and Vasily Grossman.”
“A spectacular achievement for one of the most wonderful writers in Israel”
International writer Alona Kimhi writers about “AT Night’s End” in the news paper “Israel Today”
to read click read more
“A Jerusalem’s friendship written in blood”
Nir Barams Novel : Number one in the Best Seller list in fiction.
” A Very beautiful and nuanced novel, a complex and gentle, an investigation of friendship between to friends since their childhood and until they are grown man”
“Israel Today” newspaper
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“I am so excited to hold this wonderful novel. while reading it I realized that this time you have put your heart in amongst the lines. In my opinion, it is a novel about two people who want to see the world through the same eyes, through the same gaze – but as they grow up they realize it is simply impossible.”
Gal Gabay – TV Chanel 10
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“Maybe its not a surprise that Baram’s new book is wonderful. A story about how two man that mature together and tries to forget their past, only they can’t . A very personal novel by Baram that deals here with the death of his mother and his best friend.
Neri Livne Haaretz
To read the whole article click read more
“A marvelous novel, a deep and unsettling investigation of friendshi. This time Nir Baram wrote about a new subjects: life and death, childhood and friendship. a must read novel”
Rino Tzror: Galey Tzhal Radio.
Events list in the US:
24.10, 18.00 – George Washington university
25.10, 19.00 – KGB Bar, NY.
27.10, 19.00 – The Temple, Louisville KY
30.10, 16.00 – Boston University
04.11, 18.45 – movie screening and talk “other Israel festival” NY
05.11, 16.00 – NYU, NY
“Land without Borders” made by Nir Baram and Michael Alalu reviews:
“This important movie shows that we haven’t even begun to speak about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” (Editor’s Choice, “Time Out”)
“A refreshing perspective, without moral patronizing. Baram’s honesty is unburdened by illusions. As a result, it opens a window for new approaches.” (Einav Shiff, “Yediot Aharonot”)
“An important, fascinating film that every person here should see.” (Maya Sela, “What’s Involved”, “This is Culture”)
“Lets talk about 1948!” (Ha’aretz supplement ranking committee chose “Land without Borders” as the best documentary of the year)
“A courageous, important movie that upsets familiar outlooks on the occupation.” (Gal Gabbay, “Setting Things Straight”, Channel 2)
“In a wise, dispassionate voice, Baram hears the unpleasant truths about the conflict.” (Doron Brosh, “Ma’ariv”)
In September 2017 Nir Baram participated in Melbourne and Brisbane writers festival to discuss his book A land without Borders” published by Text. His two events in Melbourne were sold out.