"Sodot", by Corinna - a writer who grants us her first name - is a most intriguing book. It turns out that "Sodot" is her third book, with the first one published almost thirty years ago.
Yet the interest in Corinna does not conclude only in her identity. On the contrary, Sodot is an interesting book, different and indeed worthy.
The first encounter is with Corinna's unique language. I assume the reader won't grasp this uniqueness at first, since the book is written in everyday Hebrew, much alive and for sure familiar.
The wholeness of the book is evasive. You need to read several tens of pages in order to understand what Corinna's language is doing to you.
With a most straightforward Hebrew, seemingly simple, in short sentences, quite often devoid of asides, additions or reservations, Corinna succeeds to reach the reader's heart and set before his eyes a viable reality and a well-defined statement.
The style serves Corinna throughout the book. Actually it is the sole constant. "Sodot" is a most modern novel, built of fragments, sketches and stories, with constant shifts in the story's angle and in the narrator's perception.
The concise language that reigns throughout the book enables Corinna to move from the general to the particular, from the large picture to the marginal detail, from the objective drama to the subjective hue. Her success is quite impressive and she succeeds in mastering this sharp tool throughout the book.
"Sodot" tells the stories of people in Israel as of late, of the national events in which they are entangled, of their personal circumstances that are not always entirely tied up to time and place, politics or "the situation", although they are never entirely freed from them. The narrator - who undergoes no small changes by the time we reach the end of the book - serves as a prism to all she encounters, people, places, stories.
Corinna knowingly creates distance and yet grants it clear visibility. She's leading the narrator within the multifaceted Israeli material, yet looks at it always from the outside as well. She stands apart from the narrator she creates and that one keeps herself well apart from each person, place and situation she does meet with.
The book emanates a dreamy quality that envelops the reader. The restraint, the irony, the spark that is aware of itself and well hiding, all these make the reading in Corinna's book an unique and direct encounter, as befits a worthy literature.
© Ioram Melzer
Literature & Books, Ma'ariv 18.10.02
translated from the Hebrew by Michal Sapir.
Ioram Melzer is a much respected Israeli writer, literary critic, and translator.
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