Uncle Peretz takes off: short stories
With the publication of his Past Continuous in 1983, Yaakov Shabtai assumed a place of eminence in the canon of modern Jewish literature. Alan Lelchuk, in the New York Times, acclaimed its portrait of contemporary Israeli society as "the most prodigious (and probably most realistic) in Hebrew fiction." In Uncle Peretz Takes Off, the first collection of Shabtai's short fiction in English, a magnificent gallery of comic and idiosyncratic characters give Tel Aviv of the 1940s an unpredictable frontier quality. Shabtai portrays a society of individualists and schemers in search of redemption: Uncle Shmuel tries to make his fortune as a poulterer; Uncle Pinek, a born swindler, ends his days as a refugee in Monaco fleeing his creditors; the uncontrollably ribald Tamara Bell, who poses naked for artists, causes adolescent boys in the neighborhood small, excruciating flickers of desire. With unparalleled lyricism and humanity, Shabtai's stories embody the comedy, energy, and tragedy of the early years ofthe Zionist enterprise.
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Afterward Akiva Allenby Street Anna Akhmatova asked Aunt Yona Aunt Zipporah balcony Bar Mitzvah began blue brown Chaim Baruch Chaim Leib cigarette circus close Cordoba corner courtyard dark door dressed dunam Elisheva Gippius empty Eretz Yisrael everything eyes face father feeling fell felt filled fingers Fink flowers gave Gentilla Geula glass Grandmother Grandmother's grew hair hand Hashomer Hatzair head heavy Hirsh Moishe inside kitchen knew legs light lips looked Meir Monaco morning moshav mother Nancy neck never night replied Sabbath seemed Shabbat shack Sheinkin Street silence smell smile smoke standing stone stood stopped street stretched suddenly Tamara thing thought took trees tried turned Tzirel Uncle Noah Uncle Peretz Uncle Shmuel voice waited walked wall wanted wife window words Yaakov Shabtai Yiddish Yishuv