A Woman in Jerusalem (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
Abraham B. Yehoshua’s A Woman in Jerusalem begins in Jerusalem, where a woman has died when a bomb exploded in a marketplace. The body had been taken to the hospital morgue, but after a week no one had come forward to claim it. The only identification found on her is the bloodstained stub of a paycheck from a bakery where she had been employed. A reporter for a local tabloid newspaper writes a lurid account about the dead woman, accusing the bakery of gross negligence for ignoring its missing employee. The article, intended to attract the attention of readers, is headlined “The Shocking Inhumanity Behind Our Daily Bread.” A description of the bakery and a photo of the owner accompany the article. Such bad publicity demands a response from the owner. He calls in his human resources manager and assigns him to find out what he could about the woman and to make arrangements for her funeral.
What sounds at first like a simple assignment for the manager becomes an odyssey. Yehoshua introduces an interesting cast of supporting characters: Each contributes new information about the deceased and each presents a human being with unique personality quirks. None of the characters is given a name, each one being identified only by occupation, such as the night shift supervisor, the morgue technician, and the embassy consul. Yehoshua’s personality sketches depict people whom the reader can well imagine as they perform their occupational roles....
(The entire section is 1744 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
Booklist 102, no. 21 (July 1, 2006): 35.
The Economist 380 (August8 5, 2006): 73.
Kirkus Reviews 74, no. 10 (May 15, 2006): 495.
Library Journal 131, no. 10 (June 1, 2006): 114.
The New Republic 235, no. 26 (December 25, 2006): 31-33.
The New York Times Book Review 155 (August 13, 2006): 12.
Publishers Weekly 253, no. 24 (June 12, 2006): 29.
The Times Literary Supplement, May 12, 2006, p. 22.
(The entire section is 37 words.)