Gabriel Josipovici

Gabriel Josipovici

The author of eighteen novels, twenty plays, three volumes of stories, eight critical books, and a memoir of his mother (the poet and translator Sacha Rabinovitch), Gabriel Josipovici is a prolific writer. He was born in Nice in 1940, lived in Egypt from 1945 to 1956, then went to England where he read English at Oxford University. Although Josipovici wrote in a variety of genres, it was his short fiction Mobius the Stripper that brought him early success in 1974. Two distinct themes are frequently present in Josipovici’s works; the idea of art as a toy, and the sense that we are creatures in time. His plays have been widely performed and broadcast in England, France, and Germany, and his works have been translated into several languages. Josipovici was a Professor of English at the School of European Studies at Sussex University for thirty-five years and took early retirement in 1998. He lives in Lewes, England and regularly contributes to the Times Literary Supplement.

In a Hotel Garden

In a Hotel Garden is a provocative work by the English novelist once described by Sir Frank Kermode as “an admirable and rare example of the writer-critic.” It is a captivating novella, written almost entirely in dialogue. In a Hotel Garden unfolds character and meaning with a lovely, meditative tension. The narrator Ben relates to his friends his enthralling encounter with a Jewish woman in the Dolomite Alps. The tale of her compulsive visit to a hotel garden in Siena––where her grandmother fell in love with a man soon to be a victim of the Holocaust––illuminates Ben’s half-lived life, and raises the question of how we can ever come to terms with the destruction of the European Jews in our century.…
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The Illiterate

Literature by Ágota Kristóf

Translated from the French by Nina Bogin

With a contribution by Gabriel Josipovici

Narrated in a series of stark, brief vignettes, The Illiterate is Ágota Kristóf’s memoir of her childhood, her escape from Hungary in 1956 with her husband and small child, her early years working in factories in Switzerland, and the writing of her first novel, The Notebook. Few writers can convey so much in so little space. Fierce yet almost pointedly flat and documentarian in tone, Kristóf portrays with a disturbing level of detail and directness an implacable message of loss: first, she is forced to learn Russian as a child (with the Soviet takeover of Hungary, Russian became obligatory at school); next, at age twenty-one, she finds herself required to learn French to survive: I have spoken French for more than thirty years, I have written in French for twenty years, but I still don’t know it.…
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One of the great novelists of the second half of the twentieth century.
—Gabriel Josipovici, TLS International Book of the Year 2004
Josipovici is able to relate ordinary human concerns to some of the most important intellectual issues of the twentieth century. There are few writers in England of whom this could be said.
Times Literary Supplement
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