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Katschen & The Book of Joseph

by Yoel Hoffmann

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Yoel Hoffmann is one of the most precious voices in Israel's contemporary literature: his writing has about it the poetic, dream-like quality of an ancient myth, combined with a fierce, 'molecular' precision. Reading Hoffmann's subtle prose is like viewing the same universe, alternately and with the most skillful modulations, through a telescope and a microscope, only to find out, in awe, that the astral view and the infinitesimal view are actually one and the same.

—Amos Oz

Katschen & The Book of Joseph makes an amazing American debut for Israeli writer Yoel Hoffmann. Intensely moving, the two novellas display the entirely original poetry and hypnotic verve of Hoffmann’s atomized language, which Rosmarie Waldrop has called "utterly enchanting––it is like nothing else." "The Book of Joseph" tells the tragic story of a widowed Jewish tailor and his son in 1930s Berlin. "Katschen" gives an astounding child’s-eye view of a boy orphaned in Palestine. "When Yoel Hoffmann’s books first appeared in the late 1980s," Professor Nili Gold has commented, "they seemed to have tunneled their way into Israel from afar... Technically of the same generation (the ’Generation of the State’) as canonical realist writers like A.B. Yehoshua and Amos Oz, he didn’t begin to publish fiction until his late forties, and in many ways he represents a generation of one, at the edge of the Israeli avant-garde."


Katschen & The Book of Joseph

Fiction by Yoel Hoffmann

published May 1st, 1998