Calling to mind the minimalist novels of Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Motti is at once an exercise in simplicity and a self-conscious investigation into storytelling . . .
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Asaf Schurr was born in Jerusalem in 1976 and has a BA in philosophy and theater from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is a translator and writes literary reviews for the Hebrew press. Schurr has received the Bernstein Prize (2007), the Minister of Culture Prize (2007) for "Amram", and the Prime Minister's Prize for "Motti" (2008).
Todd Hasak-Lowy has published several books for adults. "33 Minutes "was his first book for young readers and he made his YA debut with Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You". He lives with his wife and two daughters in Evanston, Illinois.
Schurr (Amram) sets up a chilling ethical compromise in this spare, sober narrative. Told by an outside observer who doesn't hesitate to share his opinions, the novel depicts the unequal friendship between Motti and Menachem, two middle-aged men living in Jerusalem who probably (surmises the narrator) met in the army years before where "these things are established just once and never budge." Motti is an unassuming elementary school teacher who lives alone with his beloved dog and adores from afar a teenage girl living in a neighboring apartment. Menachem, meanwhile, is married with two young children, brash, self-serving, and frequently insincere. After a night of drinking together, Menachem hits and kills a pedestrian while driving drunk, and Motti, also in the car, steps up and takes the rap—five years in prison. ("hat was that but five years in which he wouldn't have to struggle," he thinks.) But after Menachem loses Motti's dog while Motti is locked up, what will transpire between the two? Schurr eloquently plays on the disquieting relationship between friends (or is it victim and bully?), and between the worth of a life lived richly on the interior, versus one lived falsely and loudly in public. (May)
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