The Short Life Aaron Megged

ISBN: 9780800871802

Published: October 1st 1980


278 pages


The Short Life  by  Aaron Megged

The Short Life by Aaron Megged
October 1st 1980 | Hardcover | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, AUDIO, mp3, RTF | 278 pages | ISBN: 9780800871802 | 5.75 Mb

This is a favorite novel of mine, read several times now. I was first attracted to it in 1980 by a review describing it as an Israeli Ulysses. Reading it I was delighted to see its so. Set in 1966 Tel Aviv, it involves the relationship of a couple who bear resemblances to Leopold and Molly Bloom.

Aharon Megged has deliberately incorporated some pastiches of the more famous charactistics of Ulysses into his novel: theres a cathechism chapter with its heavily-worded questions, theres a scene on the beach in which Shuka is attracted to a young girl, theres a section of dense interior prose as a woman lying in bed wonders where her husband is, and everywhere, everywhere in every head and situation flows the stream of consciousness. Its a lovely novel in its own right and its lovely as a tribute to one of the most influential novels ever written.Theres a lot going on in the novel.

Shuka, the husband and insurance salesman, is a fine template for Bloom. Elisheva, the wife, does the novels heavy lifting because, beginning about p33, shes compared to Stephen Dedalus and carries him as well as Molly. Like Stephen, Elisheva is enormously intellectual. She teaches literature at the university and is busily engaged in writing a paper on Don Quixote. Thats a key name indicating Megged has more than Ulysses on his mind. Elishevas learning is at an elevated, idealistic level.

She spends her days and nights musing and focused on literature and is so caught up in it that she has little time for the real world or the demands of family, much like the famous man of La Mancha. The lumbering, practical Shuka has his feet on the ground, just like Sancho Panza, and sees the world realistically.

He looks after Elisheva and the practical sides of their life, too, as Bloom looked after Molly. The novel has many references to riding a horse, and to knights. Shuka drives a Fiat which he cares for lovingly and which is spoken of in terms youd associate with a donkey. In fact, at one point his little Fiat runs away from him.As I say, Elisheva, professor and writer constantly reflecting on literature when alone or discussing it with colleagues, or with Amnon, a novelist and Meggeds stand-in for Blazes Boylan, bears the intellectual weight of a novel which alludes to many writers other than Joyce and Cervantes.

In the convesations of characters like these Megged has much to say about writing, artistic personality, and the relationship between reader and writer. Such names as Flaubert and Pinter flow through the blue Mediterranean air of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Theres even a recurring story Elisheva imagines and keeps revising in her head which parodies the opening of Kafkas The Metamorphosis. And in the end Dantes terraced hell appears in the Negev.I hope Ive made The Short Life sound like fun because it is. If you admire Ulysses and Don Quixote and love to read how literature can relate to real life this is a fascinating read.

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