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Husband and Wife
Cover of Husband and Wife
Husband and Wife
A Novel
Borrow Borrow
From the Israeli author of Love Life: "a highly polished and . . . beautifully written story that carries great weights of meaning" (Kirkus Reviews).

Zeruya Shalev achieved international literary stardom with her novel Love Life, which The Washington Post Book World called "a brutally honest and often brilliant tour of individual and family psychology." In Husband and Wife, she takes us into the heartbreak and compromise of a diseased marriage that may or may not be capable of healing.

Na'ama and Udi Newman, together with their young daughter Noga, lead a quiet domestic life. But their idyll abruptly ends when Udi—a perfectly healthy man—wakes up one morning unable to move his legs. The doctors can find no physical explanation for his paralysis. It appears to be a symptom, not of illness, but of something far more insidious. This mysterious disruption soon reveals a vicious cycle of jealousy, paranoia, resentment, and accumulated injuries that now threaten to tear their small family apart.

In a rush of hallucinogenic imagery, Husband and Wife captures the vulnerability and deceptive comforts of lives intertwined, offering "an acutely intimate portrait of a relationship" (Donna Rifkind, The Baltimore Sun).

"Nearly impossible to look away from." —Elle
From the Israeli author of Love Life: "a highly polished and . . . beautifully written story that carries great weights of meaning" (Kirkus Reviews).

Zeruya Shalev achieved international literary stardom with her novel Love Life, which The Washington Post Book World called "a brutally honest and often brilliant tour of individual and family psychology." In Husband and Wife, she takes us into the heartbreak and compromise of a diseased marriage that may or may not be capable of healing.

Na'ama and Udi Newman, together with their young daughter Noga, lead a quiet domestic life. But their idyll abruptly ends when Udi—a perfectly healthy man—wakes up one morning unable to move his legs. The doctors can find no physical explanation for his paralysis. It appears to be a symptom, not of illness, but of something far more insidious. This mysterious disruption soon reveals a vicious cycle of jealousy, paranoia, resentment, and accumulated injuries that now threaten to tear their small family apart.

In a rush of hallucinogenic imagery, Husband and Wife captures the vulnerability and deceptive comforts of lives intertwined, offering "an acutely intimate portrait of a relationship" (Donna Rifkind, The Baltimore Sun).

"Nearly impossible to look away from." —Elle
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About the Author-
  • Zeruya Shalev has a master's degree in biblical studies and is chief literary editor at an Israeli publishing house. Shalev's was awarded the Book Publishers' Association's Gold and Platinum Prizes, the German Corine Literature Prize, and the French Amphi Award. Her books have been translated into seventeen languages.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 17, 2002
    Little occurs outside the racing mind of Na'ama Newman, the intensely thoughtful narrator of this second novel by Shalev (Love Life). Na'ama is a social worker who heals ailing young mothers and their children, though she is unable to turn an observant eye on the lives of her own husband and child, or herself. When her husband, Udi, a healthy hiking guide who periodically leaves the family for long, solitary jaunts into nature, wakes up one morning unable to move his legs, Na'ama begins an inner monologue, wrestling over whether to take him to the hospital, where she will surely have to share him and the blame for whatever ails him with nurses, doctors and the rest of the world, or whether to keep him at home, where she and their nine-year-old daughter Noga can finally have a constant relationship with him. As Udi lies in bed, Na'ama's thoughts crash against each other: she recalls a brief though damaging affair, the perfection of her and Udi's adolescent love, and the ways Noga has borne the brunt of their sour marriage. When Na'ama learns Udi is suffering from conversive paralysis, a sickness in which mental stress is expressed physically, she is wildly jealous of the illness, saying, "so that's what she's called, his new woman, conversion." Shalev, an Israeli literary editor, has created a novel entirely devoid of standard dialogue, choosing instead to convey snatches of conversation, arguments and whispers of love in stream-of-consciousness prose. Her language is hauntingly, painfully lyrical, and her understanding of the conflicted human yearning for connection and solitude astounds. (Aug.)Forecast:
    Love Life, Shalev's first novel, has been published in 11 languages and was a number one bestseller in Israel. With this beautifully written and packaged second effort, Shalev may gain a wider readership in the U.S.

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    Grove Atlantic
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Husband and Wife
A Novel
Zeruya Shalev
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