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Love Life
Cover of Love Life
Love Life
A Novel
Hailed by The New York Times Book Review as a novel that "broke all the barriers...sexually explicit yet dense with biblical allusions and psychological insight," Love Life unbuttoned Hebrew literature and spent four months as Israel's number one best-seller. What begins as a story of a young married woman's turbulent affair with an older man rapidly devolves into a feverish, lyrical crash course in the anatomy of obsession. When Yaara meets Aryeh, her father's boyhood friend, she is instantly drawn to his impassive and archly assured presence. It is not long before she forsakes her devoted and well-meaning husband for the powerful, mysterious older man who seems to embody all that she lacks: will, strength, and the key to her parents' inaccessible pasts. They embark on a heated affair that soon spirals toward the destructive as Yaara finds that the things in Aryeh that attract her also repel her with equal intensity. With shocking immediacy, Shalev lays bare Yaara's struggle to navigate extreme terrain ranging from the sublime to the grotesque, the sacred to the profane, the liberating to the all-consuming. Love Life is cerebral, seductive, provocative, and profound.
Hailed by The New York Times Book Review as a novel that "broke all the barriers...sexually explicit yet dense with biblical allusions and psychological insight," Love Life unbuttoned Hebrew literature and spent four months as Israel's number one best-seller. What begins as a story of a young married woman's turbulent affair with an older man rapidly devolves into a feverish, lyrical crash course in the anatomy of obsession. When Yaara meets Aryeh, her father's boyhood friend, she is instantly drawn to his impassive and archly assured presence. It is not long before she forsakes her devoted and well-meaning husband for the powerful, mysterious older man who seems to embody all that she lacks: will, strength, and the key to her parents' inaccessible pasts. They embark on a heated affair that soon spirals toward the destructive as Yaara finds that the things in Aryeh that attract her also repel her with equal intensity. With shocking immediacy, Shalev lays bare Yaara's struggle to navigate extreme terrain ranging from the sublime to the grotesque, the sacred to the profane, the liberating to the all-consuming. Love Life is cerebral, seductive, provocative, and profound.
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  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 28, 2000
    This sexy, densely written Israeli bestseller takes up where Erica Jong left off, documenting the escapades of an otherwise intelligent heroine who lets her comfortable marriage fall apart as she pursues erotic adventure and personal fulfillment. Bored by her husband, despite or perhaps because of the way he calls her Moley (she calls him Ratty) and uninspired by her graduate studies in biblical legends, Ya'arah yearns for passionate excitement. She meets the unlikely object of her obsession at her parents' home when her father's friend Aryeh Reven returns to Israel to care for his dying wife. Ya'arah falls head over heels for the aging Lothario, first seeking him out in the dressing room of a clothing store, then in other equally inconvenient but titillating locales. Ya'arah is enthralled by Aryeh's links to her parents' younger days, the years before the devastation of their son's death blighted their lives. Jeopardizing her career by missing meetings and ignoring assignments, leaving her husband to take their romantic vacation alone, then spying on him from an airport corner as he deplanes, Ya'arah seems bent on her own destruction. With appallingly bad timing, she shows up at Aryeh's apartment while he sits shivah with his in-laws. Shalev echoes and outdoes Jong with outrageously sensuous, often humiliating situations described by a narrator who acts as if she has lost her sanity while commenting wryly, even perceptively, on her own misdeeds. Whether Ya'arah is lying to the head of her department or interpreting ancient stories, she explodes with ingenuity and eventually insight as she comes to understand her mother's choices and, to some extent, Israeli society, with its visceral ties to the past.

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Love Life
Love Life
A Novel
Zeruya Shalev
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