Part novel and part memoir, Yoel Hoffmann’s Moods is flooded with feelings, evoked by his family, losses, loves, the soul’s hidden powers, old phone books, and life in the Galilee—with its every scent, breeze, notable dog, and odd neighbor. Carrying these shards is a general tenderness accentuated by a new dimension brought along with “that great big pill of Prozac.”
Beautifully translated by Peter Cole, Moods is fiction for lovers of poetry and poetry for lovers of fiction—a small marvel of a book, and with its pockets of joy, a curiously cheerful book by an author who once compared himself to “a praying mantis inclined to melancholy.”
They are not so much meditations as obsessions, urgent enquiries into a frustrating but endlessly captivating mystery…Moods is not only about something, but that it is something vigorous and alive.
—Mona Gainer-Salim, Music & Literature
Hoffmann’s subject is the miracle of this most ordinary thing, and his prose is its revelation and praise.
—Jenny Hendrix, Forward
—The New Yorker
I am confirmed in my admiration for Hoffmann’s oblique and elliptical style.
—W. G. Sebald
Hoffmann writes in a language of miracles.
—American Book Review
Hoffmann’s is an exile literature in exile from itself: self-conscious, and humorously historicized, yet with none of its homage preserved obviously. In his pages, the oldest of folkish tropes are wryly revivified into a third literature, that of a new and Third East–an undiscovered continent of exotically compelling fictions.
Hoffmann is not just a good writer but a great one, with the ability to find, in the moment-to-moment dislocation of daily existence, epiphanies of revelatory force… What Hoffmann has achieved is a kind of magic.