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Press Release

SNAPSHOTS by Michal Govrin

“While always dynamic and compelling, Snapshots also breaks through to introspection, subtle feelings, and the explosion of stereotypes, offering us a new understanding of Israel, and of the people who call it home.”

Aharon Appelfeld, Badenheim 1939 and The Immortal Bartfuss, winner of the National Jewish Book Award

SNAPSHOTS, the acclaimed and controversial novel that won Israel’s 2003 Akum Prize, has been translated into English for the very first time, making it available to an entire new audience in the States.

How well do we ever really know those we love? How well do we even know ourselves? When our parents stand in the limelight of history, how do we ever step out of their shadow? In a bold and provocative novel about love, war, the devastation of loss, and trying to find yourself when the world around you is in chaos, award-winning Israeli author Michal Govrin addresses these questions and creates a masterpiece of world literature.

SNAPSHOTS opens with the news that Ilana Tsuriel, a beautiful and brash architect, has died in a car crash in Germany. Her estranged husband, a renowned scholar of the Holocaust, asks Ilana’s friend Tirtsa to sort through some of her papers. “You’ll know what to do with them,” he tells her. Ilana’s notes spring to life in Snapshots, including letters to her father, a diary of her relationship with her husband, and the very private story of Ilana’s troubled romance with a Palestinian man named Sayyid. The book also includes the author’s own photos and hand-drawn pictures illustrating Ilana’s travels through America and Israel, creating an interactive reading experience that brings Ilana to life in a unique and innovative way.

SNAPSHOTS is a lyrical and poetic look at one woman’s life and how she changed and affected the world, one person at a time. The novel introduces us to Ilana first through her trek across the eastern United States, as she searches for herself and who she wants to be. In stringent letters to her father back in Israel, Ilana seeks to reconcile their differences yet opens up old wounds as well. Always lingering in SNAPSHOTS are questions about Israel: Where is the nation heading and what is it becoming? Who are its people becoming and how will they be defined—not only by the world at large but by themselves?

The questions plague Ilana as she moves around the world, and as the world grows darker, from the first Gulf War to the years and battles that followed. When Ilana settles back in Jerusalem with her husband, still maintaining her relationship with Sayyid, she is torn between the two worlds they represent and what they mean for her as a Jew, as an Israeli, and as a woman.
With passion and tenderness for her characters, and deep insight into the soul of her native country, Michal Govrin weaves an exquisite tapestry in her latest novel. SNAPSHOTS transcends political and geographical boundaries to get to the root of what makes us all human as we embrace love in a world that provides no easy answers.

About the Author:
Michal Govrin was born in Tel Aviv. Her father was one of Israel’s pioneers, and her mother was a Holocaust survivor. After obtaining her Ph.D. from the University of Paris, Govrin became one of Israel’s most prominent writers, as well as an award-winning poet and theater director. Her published works include The Name, Hold on to the Sun, Stories and Legends, That Very Hour, That Night’s Seder, and Words’ Bodies. Her theatrical credits include Samuel Beckett’s Mercier and Camier and Happy Days as well as The Harvest of Folly, among several others. She is a teacher at the School of Visual Theater in Jerusalem, a part-time writer-in-residence at Rutgers University, and the academic chairman of the theater department at Emunah College. Govrin splits her time between Jerusalem and New Jersey. She and her husband have two daughters. 

Victoria Comella