Publication Date: 03/08/2023 ISBN: 9781399803953 Category:

The Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land

Omer Friedlander

Publisher: John Murray Press
Publication Date: 03/08/2023 ISBN: 9781399803953 Category:
Paperback / Softback





‘In these wise, capacious, achingly beautiful stories, Omer Friedlander maps the hidden geography of the human heart like a young Chekhov’ ANTHONY MARRA

‘A beautiful debut by a deeply humane writer. Every story is a vivid world unto itself, intensely felt, and often revelatory’ NICOLE KRAUSS

A divorced con-artist and his young daughter sell empty bottles of ‘holy’ air to credulous tourists.

In a bombed-out Beirut radio station, a Lebanese Scheherazade enchants three young soldiers with her nightly tales.

Ahead of a school ‘Show and Tell’, two brothers kidnap a Shoah survivor from a supermarket to pose as their grandfather.

An Israeli volunteer at a West Bank checkpoint mourns the death of her son, a soldier killed in Gaza.

From the limestone alleyways of Jerusalem to the desolate Negev Desert and the sprawling orange groves of Jaffa, Omer Friedlander’s stories are fairy tales turned on their head by the stakes of real life, where moments of fragile intimacy mix with comedy and notes of the absurd.

Casting his eye, not on the region’s conflicts, but on the hopes and failures of its people, The Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land is at times darkly funny, at others quietly devastating.

Publisher Review

A marvelous new voice, bringing magic, change and surprise without ever losing sight of the human and the real. I'd follow this writer anywhere -- REBECCA MAKKAI What is most striking is how full of deeply felt human experience and authentic emotion his fiction is. Every one of these stories moved me and taught me something I did not know before -- SIGRID NUNEZ As outrageously funny as they are outrageously tender, Friedlander's stories conjure complex and often difficult emotions with perfect acrobatic skill. A superb collection -- KIRAN DESAI [Omer Friedlander's stories] are so vividly drawn they feel like whole worlds in themselves . . . I fell in love with these weird, wacky and ultimately human characters. At times devastating, and other times ridiculous, these tales will stay with me * Good Housekeeping, Books of the Year * Rarely do we encounter a writer so young but also this wise. Innovative in conception, classical in spirit: a splendid literary debut -- HA JIN A remarkable talent. These stories transcend the particular to become intricately crafted fables, each a country unto itself -- ELLIOT ACKERMAN One of those rare authors who can trap each moment in a surprising and somehow perfect detail. A major work - I'd urge you to read it -- DARIN STRAUSS Beautifully written . . . an exceptionally thoughtful writer -- KEVIN POWERS There's a touch of magic in these stories reminiscent of I.B. Singer and Nathan Englander. But the world Friedlander creates is all his own. Through his orange-grove workers, junk collectors, soldiers, and grieving mothers, he makes Israel and Palestine-the whole history of the Middle East-come alive. The Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land is an astonishing, breathtaking debut. -- JOSHUA HENKIN, author of Morningside Heights Friedlander's humane explorations of love, friendship and the unending cost of conflict, against backdrops that range from orange groves in Jaffa to a check point in Gaza, are in turn funny, tender and achingly compassionate * Jewish Chronicle * Friedlander's skillfully crafted, imagistic prose captivates and soars. With this collection, Friedlander positions himself as poised to join a formidable cadre that includes writers such as David Grossman and Etgar Keret * Kirkus * Friedlander imbues his characters with a deeply felt humanity, and his finely tuned command of emotional tenor will evoke tears and laughter in equal measure * Publishers Weekly, Starred Review * Omer Friedlander captures Israel through a lens that is equally sensitive, whimsical, and critical...Through depictions of universal themes such as grief, brotherhood, and ancestral ties, Friedlander establishes himself as a writer with an innate gift for capturing the human condition * One Story * The Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land urges us to pay attention to the human toll of war with sympathy and a great deal of heart * October Hill Magazine * Brilliant . . . Friedlander is a writer to watch * The Reporter * Masterful * American Jewish World * These stories triumph for their finely tuned character portrayals and evocation of the complexities of life in Israel * Jewish Boston * Moving and dazzling * Buzz * Tightly written, intimate portaits of lives lived in Israel . . . beautifully crafted tales * Jewish News of Northern California * Israeli literature has big names. Amos Oz and David Grossman . . . storytellers who penetrate deep into the psyche of their story's characters. Now a new promising young writer has emerged: Omer Friedlander. * Friesch Dagblad (Netherlands) * Powerful * Tel Aviv Review of Books * Elements of the near-fantastic and a comic darkness that at times recalls the work of Salman Rushdie . . . textual richness that situates Friedlander in the ranks of masters like Murakami . . . By turns bracingly elegiac and deeply, darkly funny, The Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land is a stunning debut, and marks the arrival of a writer of serious gifts. * Porter House Review * An impressive literary voice . . . Friedlander's fierce imagination emerges to make its own surreal sense * Jewish Renaissance * Omer Friedlander writes with the wisdom of a much older writer * Church Times * Friedlander's humane explorations of love, friendship and the unending cost of conflict, against backdrops that range from orange groves in Jaffa to a check point in Gaza, are in turn funny, tender and achingly compassionate. * Jewish Telegraph *

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