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Aqud: A Reading with Author Albert Swissa

Thursday, March 29, 2012
12:00 AM
434 South State St. Kelsey Museum, Room 125 Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109

Albert Swissa will read in Hebrew followed by English translation from each of the three sections of his novel Aqud. This event will be a rare opportunity for an English-speaking audience to be exposed to sections of the work not available in Ammiel Alcalay's anthology Keys to the Garden.
Albert Swissa's novel Aqud (Bound), upon its publication in 1991, changed the face of Israeli literature. His writing broke with many norms in Israeli fiction, unsettling the divide between the sacred and the profane while advancing a disturbing, unstable brand of ethnic and class politics. Aqud is one of very few novels in Hebrew-language literature to vividly imagine a social setting composed of Israel's largely Mizrahi urban underclass, more specifically North African immigrants in one of Jerusalem's tenement projects. The cultural identity of the characters cuts across boundaries, entering Israeli, Franco-Maghrebian, Arab, African and Berber territory; the novel also complexly explores the gender and sexuality of the young adolescent male and female protagonists. The unique style of his Hebrew defies categorization, oscillating between intensely picturesque and baroque description, and modernist, Kabbalist and other sacred registers.