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More and More Equal

The Literary Works of Sami Michael

Nancy E. Berg

More and More Equal examines the works of Sami Michael, the most significant Israeli writer who has made the transition from Arabic to Hebrew. Born in Baghdad, Michael fled in 1948 to Iran, and later to Israel, to escape imprisonment or execution due to his involvement with the Iraqi Communist Party. Early in his career Michael was deemed merely an "ethnic" writer, but his incredible popular success and indelible influence on his Israeli audience have forced critics to consider his writings anew.

Nancy E. Berg sheds light on Michael's belated canonization and traces his development as a storyteller. Berg offers fresh readings of each of Michael's major novels. She shows us that by questioning and exploring Israeli and Jewish identity via characters otherwise rare in Hebrew literature (non-European immigrants, Sephardis, and Arabs), Michael has recast the Zionist master narrative. Berg notes that Michael's rise to literary prominence owes not only to his growing sophistication as a writer but also to changing norms and attitudes in Israeli society.
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Lexington Books
Pages: 232Size: 6 x 9 1/4
978-0-7391-0828-4 • Hardback • December 2004 • $90.00 • (£60.00)
Nancy E. Berg is associate professor of Hebrew and comparative literature, Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures at Washington University in St. Louis.
Chapter 1 From Rooftops to Water Tables
Chapter 2 Novel Structures
Chapter 3 More Difficult Than Changing Sex
Chapter 4 The Human Mosaic
Chapter 5 Mapping Critical Reception
Chapter 6 Kissing Water
Chapter 7 Shifting Landscapes
Berg's research is an important step in the direction of revealing the great importance of Sami Michael's works.
Batya Shimony, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel; Hebrew Studies

In this valuable study, Berg (Washington University, St. Louis) makes a solid case for the discovery of this important novelist. . . . Recommended.