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The Retrospective

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  106 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Winner, Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger

An aging Israeli film director has been invited to the pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela for a retrospective of his work. When Yair Moses and Ruth, his leading actress and longtime muse, settle into their hotel room, a painting over their bed triggers a distant memory in Moses from one of his early films: a scene that caused a
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Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 2011)
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Jill
It, is, perhaps, no accident that A.B. Yehoshua names his key character Yair Moses, the spiritual father of the Jews, and the prophet who delivered the nation of Israel out of slavery and into the light.

Moses - an aging and prolific film director whom we first meet during a retrospective of his works in the Spanish pilgrim city of Santiago de Compostela - has spent years in his own creative wilderness after an estrangement from his brilliant and highly creative and unorthodox scriptwriter, Triga
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Stuart
The Retrospective is a novel chock full of big ideas on the nature of art and the interplay between Ashkenazi Western and Sephardi Eastern cultures in Israel. Like most excellent novels, it also has a carefully plotted story. Most Americans probably won't understand the cultural themes here, but even without that layer of complexity, I'm guessing that The Retrospective will still resonate with smart English speaking audiences. This is a very intelligent book.

Yehoshua creates a stand-in for hims
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Yair Bezalel
This is the seventh work I've read of AB Yehoshua, one the 'Three Terrors' of modern Israeli literature (the other two being Amos Oz and David Grossman). Yehoshua is a...complicated man, and this is reflected in his work, for good and ill.

Yehoshua is a Sephardic Jew born and raised in Israel, Jerusalem to be precise, who considers the only truly Jewish life to be one in Israel. The Jewish Diaspora is a non-entity, a fledgling and pale imitation that can't even begin to measure up to the full Je
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Jennifer
The Retrospective by A.B. Yehoshua is the first book I have read by this extremely talented Israeli author and I look forward to reading other translated works by A.B. Yehoshua. In The Retrospective, Yehoshua weaves together an intricate narrative of life, creativity, art, love, and above all duality. The characters come alive on the pages as does the city of Santiago and all of its beauty. The Retrospective is not a book one picks up to pass the time or read in short order, rather The Retrospec ...more
Anni
I was expecting much more from this book; I've read Yehoshua before and have liked his sensibility. I thought The Retrospective was self-indulgent and sometimes juvenile. The characters were written as characters in books: they never felt like living, breathing people. Trigano's requirement that Moses suckle on a breast and have a photograph taken was so beyond the ken that I just about thru up my hands in disbelief. Symbol or not, the deliverance Moses felt was plain old silly. Perhaps even emb ...more
Elizabeth
I enjoyed this typically complex Yehoshua, with its intertwined themes and complex metaphors. Yair Moses, the protagonist, resembles all the main characters of the Yehoshua novels I've read -- typically a middle aged or older man, loveable, ethical but deeply flawed and annoying. As usual the protagonist is someone I'm awfully grateful not to have married.

The Sephardi / Ashkenazi dichotomy in Israeli society is interestingly used. It is used in this novel, not as a complaint about inequality bu
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Jim Leffert
It’s intriguing that in every novel by Yehoshua over the past fifteen years, beginning with A Journey to the End of the Millenium in 1999 and including his latest, A Retrospective, the main character leaves Israel proper to go on a journey. These journeys into the wider world seem to open the characters to new possibilities for self-awareness and engagement with others.

The Retrospective (The Hebrew title, Hesed Sepharadi, means Spanish--or Sephardic—Kindness) offers us an inside look at the crea
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Susan
Spoiler alert: thumbs way down

Yair Moses, a successful and unctuously polite septuagenarian Israeli film director, is invited to Santiago de Campostela along with Ruth, the star of many of his films with whom he has an ambiguous sexual relationship, for a retrospective of the very early films he had worked on with a former student named Trigano with whom Yair has had a painful break. In the Spanish hotel room he shares chastely with Ruth Yair is immediately drawn to a painting of Roman Charity,
...more
Jill
It, is, perhaps, no accident that A.B. Yehoshua names his key character Yair Moses, the spiritual father of the Jews, and the prophet who delivered the nation of Israel out of slavery and into the light.

Moses – an aging and prolific film director whom we first meet during his retrospective in the Spanish pilgrim city of Santiago de Compostela – has spent years in his own creative wilderness after an estrangement from his brilliant and highly creative and unorthodox scriptwriter, Trigano. He has
...more
Rick
The Retrospective is the most recent novel by the Israeli novelist to appear in English, published in Israel in 2011 and in the US in 2013. The title, in part, describes a specific event: an Israeli filmmaker’s career is given a retrospective at a film institute attached to a monastery in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. But the director, Yair Moses, is surprised that the scope of the retrospective is confined to his earliest films. Soon he notices the influence of his former partner, the screenwr ...more
La Stamberga dei Lettori
Yair Moses, settantenne regista cinematografico israeliano, appartenente ad una famiglia laica di Gerusalemme originaria della Germania, viene invitato, quale ospite d’onore, ad una retrospettiva dei suoi film, organizzata da un’insolita associazione di cinefili nella più scenografica ed insolita tra le città spagnole, Santiago de Compostela. Un luogo che non dimentichi, anche se ci sei stato solo una volta. Visionario e misterioso è l’ultimo romanzo di Abraham B. Yehosua, La scena perduta, il c ...more
Silvia
Mi sono annoiata per buona parte del libro, ma la storia in sé mi è piaciuta e mi ha spinta ad andare avanti con la lettura. Le parti che mi hanno annoiato sono le rivisitazioni dei film girati dal protagonosta del libro, che vengono descritte con inutile dovizia di particolari. Mi ha intrigato invece il racconto della scena perduta e della Caritas romana; inoltre, come ne La sposa liberata (che mi era piaciuto tantissimo), anche in questo romanzo i personaggi sono umanissimi e anche qui viene s ...more
Ubik 2.0
Abraham Yehoshua sa scrivere ancora con la prosa suggestiva, i dialoghi profondi, i personaggi così vividi che l'hanno reso giustamente famoso ma, come già traspariva nel precedente "Fuoco amico", non sembra più in grado di applicare il suo talento e la sua sensibilità a soggetti degni di particolare interesse.

Questo "La scena perduta" ad esempio ci narra le vicende di un anziano regista e, retrospettivamente, di tutta una troupe ormai dispersa, lo sceneggiatore, l'attrice, il direttore della fo
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Gabriele
Io sono di questa idea qui: se vuoi fare lo scrittore, devi avere anche un po' di umiltà, scrivendo libri lunghi proporzionalmente a quanto pensi di poter impiegare il lettore. Se pensi di essere un grande scrittore, allora va bene, puoi provare a rifilarmi un libro di 500 pagine. Sei un immenso scrittore? Ne accetto anche mille. Ma se sei "solamente" un buon scrittore, allora forse è meglio se ti concentri su un numero ridotto di pagine, facciamo 2-300, ma fermati lì. Perché? Perché, caro scrit ...more
Gauss74
Per yair Moses, regista israeliano di successo, dopo una carriera pluridecennale è arrivato il momento di guardare al passato, e nel ricordo godersi i suoi successi e rivangare le sconfitte. E l'occasione per far questo è una retrospettiva dei suoi primi film, quando ancora collaborava con Shaul Trigano: geniale e perverso sceneggiatore dal quale si è nel frattempo separato in occasione di una scena così densa di turpi doppi sensi e di violenza recondita che nè lui nè la sua attrice principale R ...more
Chaitra
I've never read a book by Abraham Yehoshua before. I have several on my TBR, and when I found out that he had another book releasing I wanted to try it on for size before I braved the others. And happily, at least The Retrospective fits me perfectly.

It's a contemplative study on the differences between two headstrong artists, who for a time, walked the same path. They diverged before they actually separated following a fight, and one of them gave up the movies he was so good at completely. The
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Simone Subliminalpop
Un regista quasi a fine carriera accetta di partecipare ad una retrospettiva in Spagna sulla sua opera. Giunto sul luogo scopre però che solo i suoi primissimi film ne faranno parte, quelli nati dalla collaborazione con il suo storico sceneggiatore, nonché amico, prima che il loro rapporto e le loro carriere si dividessero bruscamente e definitivamente. Accompagnato da un’attrice che è stata donna e amante di entrambi, seppur in modi molto differenti, questo viaggio diventerà l’occasione per uno ...more
Kasa Cotugno
A. B. Yehoshua is an award winning novelist virtually unknown to American readers. A shame. This is fiction at its best -- illuminating, instructive, moving. This will definitely go down as one of the must reads of the year, which is saying a lot since there already has been a wealth of fine fiction in this relatively short time. Moses is a stand-in for Yehoshua himself, a man in his 70s invited to a historic town in Spain to be honored for his body of work. Unable at first to follow the dubbed ...more
GONZA
This is not the first book I read by Yehoshua, but still I think it is one of the most complex, I would have liked to know better Jewish stuff because I'm sure I missed more than one layers trough wich read the book. The story seemed easy enough at the beginning but then it gets complicated, still the writing was easy as was for me reading it. Not my first and surely not my last book by this author.

Questo non é il mio primo libro di Yehoshua, ma penso che sia comunque uno delle sue opere piú com
...more
Nitzan
love everything about this but have to admit that the some of the dialogue read so similar to the narration to the point that some of the most important conversations (spoiler alert: the one between trigano and moses) didn't seem realistic. but for me, despite this, a b yehoshua is a paragon who can do no wrong.
Rachel
This is the second book of Yehoshua's I've read. I think I'm a fan. I'm not always sure what he's up to, and I kind of like that. I feel like there's always a hidden agenda that will develop over the course of the book and I'm willing to be patient to find out what it is. This book is about an Israeli filmmaker invited to Spain for a retrospective of his work, but while he's there, he suspects there is more to the trip than just some academics wanting to review his films. And of course, he's rig ...more
Stephanie
I have loved AB Yehoshua's books in the past and was eager to read this one. I found it a bit pretentious and mildly interesting. The main character is a film director - and presumably an analogue for Yehosua - who the guest of honor at a retrospective of his earliest films. He opines here and there (and there are some good points) and the story meanders ... but too much for my taste.
Jane Susswein
Very quiet book, introspective. Beautiful treatment of voice.
Tamra Karl
This was a fun book to read. The book has been translated from Hebrew and the Jewish culture was evident in the characters' speech and actions. I liked the main character early on even though his weaknesses were evident and possibly because they made him seem so 'human.' I thought the symbolism might have been lost on me until 2 days after finishing it when the meaning of the final scene dawned on me. Overall and worthwhile read for something out of the norm, engaging and possibly full of symbol ...more
K C
Usually I like Yehoshua books, but I was disappointed with this one. All of the relationships between the characters seemed false, unnatural or wierd. I was also uncomfortable with the main character's search for atonement from his retrospective. And the Don Quixote ending was over the top. Just didn't enjoy the experience and I wasn't sure of any redeeming value.
Remy
Vraiment different de ce que lis habituellement. Un roman sensible mais pas mielleux, une introspection du personnage principal a la fin de sa vie et de sa carriere, suite a une retrospective improbable de son oeuvre. C'etait une lecture agreable mais qui ne laissera pas un souvenir imperissable.
Terry Curtis
There is no one I believe more deserving of the Novel than Yehoshua -- alas, this novel is staggering off. Characters are pieces on a chess board; its weighted down by allegory; and how he so completely got the details of filmmaking and film festivals wrong is ... Never mind.
Thing Two
This book, about a Jewish film director reviewing his life's work, was a bit too high-brow for me. I should've known; Robert Pinsky loved it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/31/boo...
Lorri
I truly enjoyed this book, although it was a bit different in style, than A.B. Yehoshua's other books that I have read. At times, I found myself skimming back a few pages in order to reread an excerpt.

I will write a full review in the next week or two.
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A. B. Yehoshua is one of Israel's preeminent writers. His novels include A Journey to the End of the Millenium, The Liberated Bride, and A Woman in Jerusalem, which was awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in 2007. He lives in Haifa.
More about Abraham B. Yehoshua...
The Lover A Woman in Jerusalem Mr. Mani The Liberated Bride A Journey to the End of the Millennium - A Novel of the Middle Ages

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“Yet in recent years I have witnessed a new phenomenon among filmgoers, especially those considered intelligent and perceptive. I have a name for this phenomenon: the Instant White-out. People are closeted in cozy darkness; they turn off their mobile phones and willingly give themselves, for ninety minutes or two hours, to a new film that got a fourstar rating in the newspaper. They follow the pictures and the plot, understand what is spoken either in the original tongue or via dubbing or subtitles, enjoy lush locations and clever scenes, and even if they find the story superficial or preposterous, it is not enough to pry them from their seats and make them leave the theatre in the middle of the show.
But something strange happens. After a short while, a week or two, sometimes even less, the film is whitened out, erased, as if it never happened. They can’t remember its name, or who the actors were, or the plot. The movie fades into the darkness of the movie house, and what remains is at most a ticket stub left accidentally in one’s pocket.”
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