il portale dell'ebraismo italiano

Abraham B. Yehoshua (1936-2022)

Abraham B. Yehoshua has passed away at the age of 85, he was one of the biggest interpreters of Israelian literature and a multiple Nobel Prize candidate. Among his best-known titles we can find The Lover, A Late Divorce, Five Seasons, Mr. Mani, Open Heart, A Journey to the End of the Millennium, The Liberated Bride, A Woman in Jerusalem, The Tunnel. He was appreciated all over the world and had a special bond with Italy. A place he visited for decades during countless meetings and festivals, and which also served as a backdrop for some of his writings. Among others, published last year was the short novel, The Only Daughter.
“Italy – he recounted on an interview with Pagine Ebraiche – is undoubtedly that country in the world where my books are best received. I have long wondered about the possible reasons. The conclusion I came to is that the reason lies within the fact that for the Italian people as well, as for Israelis and in particular for me and my stories, the family is the key through which the world is interpreted. Unlike, for example, for France, where it is the relationship between man and woman, and Great Britain, where it is the class struggle”.
There were many reactions to his passing. “He was one of the greatest Israeli writers and storytellers. His unforgettable creations will continue to accompany us for generations”, the condolences expressed by the President of Israel Isaac Herzog.
Recounting the last years of his life, marked by the pain of his wife’s death and the advancing of his illness, is an intense documentary film, The Last Chapter of A.B. Yehoshua, directed by Yair Qedar. In the film, Qedar captures Yehoshua working as a writer (“Whenever he has an idea, he writes it right off. It is a good sign if he smiles”) and talks to him about Italy as well. A bond that began in the early 80s, when, he recalled when introducing him to Pagine Ebraiche on the eve of a Venice screening, “yours was one of the few countries where he was more successful than Amos Oz”. Yehoshua watched ‘The Last Chapter’ just a week before it was presented and took the path of screenings and festivals. Thus Qedar: “It was an act of trust on his part that honours me. We watched it together, in his studio. Sometimes he cried, sometimes he laughed. At the end he gave me a kiss on the cheek”.

Translation by Maria Cianciuolo, revised by Alida Caccia, students at the Secondary School of Modern Languages for Interpreters and Translators of the University of Trieste, interns at the newspaper office of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities – Pagine Ebraiche.