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A Woman in Jerusalem

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3.42  ·  Rating details ·  1,139 ratings  ·  179 reviews
A woman in her forties is a victim of a suicide bombing at a Jerusalem market. Her body lies nameless in a hospital morgue. She had apparently worked as a cleaning woman at a bakery, but there is no record of her employment. When a Jerusalem daily accuses the bakery of "gross negligence and inhumanity toward an employee," the bakery's owner, overwhelmed by guilt, entrusts ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published August 14th 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 2004)
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Greta
A very weird story about a mysterious, lonely foreign woman who dies in a terror attack in the city of Jerusalem. Nobody claims her body and the only thing they know about her is that she worked in a bakery. The bakery's human resources manager sets out on a mission to find out who this woman was in order to ensure the company's good reputation and to prove its old owner's humanity.
Although he only saw a fuzzy picture of her, he becomes obsessed with her beauty and with his mission.
We only get
...more
Tittirossa
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 03-best-100
Muore un'immigrata in un attentato terroristico. Un quotidiano accusa l'azienda presso cui lavorava di disumanità perché nessuno si era accorto della sua assenza.
Il ricco proprietario incarica il responsabile delle risorse umane di scoprire come mai. E qui parte una vicenda "epica" (nello stile fintamente dimesso di Y.) di ricerca del "corpo" (sacro) della donna, del suo passato, delle sue vicende, fino ad un presente altrettanto epico, con un finale di espiazione. fino al colpo di scena finale
...more
Yair Ben-Zvi
Nov 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
I don't like AB Yehoshua the man, at least insofar of what I've read of him in articles and in speeches and from quotes. He's not exactly the nicest man or the greatest master of tact (equating Diaspora Judaism to masturbation and apparently returning Saul Bellow's compliment of being a 'world class writer' with 'I wouldn't trade ten Saul Bellows for one William Faulkner'---what an ass) and striking me just a tad as a political hypocrite. And he's certainly not the modern Israeli literary equiva ...more
Blackjessamine
Nov 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yehoshua ormai sta diventando il mio "scrittore da fine sessione d'esami": compro un suo romanzo dopo un esame, e poi a sessione finita aspetto che arrivi un periodo tranquillo, un finesettimana senza nulla da fare, e mi dedico solo alla lettura. Ci sarebbe da aspettarsi un'abitudine simile con i libri del proprio scrittore preferito, e invece no, io ho scelto Yehoshua: che scrive benissimo, ma mi lascia anche sempre insoddisfatta; che mi fa macinare centinaia di pagine in un giorno, ma non espl ...more
Marcello S
Feb 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una tragedia intrisa di lati comici.
Il viaggio come processo di purificazione.
Personaggi senza nome che rappresentano categorie umane.
Trama circolare.

Niente male.
Forse non così sorprendente dal punto di vista stilistico ma Yehoshua per me è una bella scoperta. [74/100]
Arwen56
Un insolito Yehoshua, questo, perché è pervaso di una lieve vena di umorismo.
In questa Gerusalemme in cui ci conduce l’autore, nessuno ha un nome proprio, bensì sono tutti indicati tramite il proprio ruolo o la propria funzione (il responsabile delle risorse umane, la segretaria, il figlio, il medico, ecc.), ad accezione dell’unica persona morta, Julia Regajev, vittima di un attentato, la cui salma deve essere ricondotta nello sperduto paesino in cui è nata.

Mi ha fatto tornare alla mente Tutti i
...more
Ugnė
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: žydai, turiu
Man sunku iki galo pamėgti knygas, kurių pagrindiniai veikėjai daro kažką, ko daryti nenori, ir vis tiek daro, nes kažkas jiems liepė taisyti ne jų pačių klaidas. Tai todėl 4 žvaigždutės, nes kitais atžvilgiais puikus kūrinys apie susvetimėjimą.
Hermien
Sep 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jewish, middle-east
AB Yehoshua is one of my favourite Israeli writers. It was only when I started reading the book I realised I had also seen the film "The Human Resource Manager" which is based on the book. Both are great.
SirJo
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Romanzo che si dipana prima in una Gerusalemme cupa e piovosa, poi in territorio di una fredda ex repubblica sovietica. Un viaggio dietro a un feretro che diventa un viaggio del protagonista nel ritrovare un significato di vita.
Il feretro, che nessuno reclama, è quello di una donna che formalmente aveva un lavoro come addetta alle pulizie in un panificio di Gerusalemme. Il responsabile delle risorse umane viene mandato in missione dal proprietario del panificio per rimediare a un danno di immagi
...more
Robin Friedman
May 06, 2018 rated it liked it
A Search For Love And Place

A. B. Yehoshua's novel, "A Woman in Jerusalem" raises a number of difficult themes -- the nature of love, the search for identity, the importance of place -- but explores them unconvincingly. I don't think the novel succeeds.

The story involves a dead non-Jewish woman, Yulia Ragayev,in her late 40s who had immigrated to Jersualem with her Jewish lover and her son from a former marriage. When her lover and son leave, she opts to remain and is killed in an attack by suici
...more
Gauss74
Aug 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anche se è una tematica assai ricorrente nella narrativa contemporanea, in questa storia Yehoshua decrive la spersonalzzazione degli uomini con grande ed immediata aggressività.
Un dirigente giovane ed ambizioso, ha tutti i numeri per fare strada all'interno di una grande azienda produttrice di pane, ma non ne ha affatto per farne nella vita. A tal punto è emotivamente immaturo che tutte le sue relazioni umane sfociano nel nulla della mediocrità. Il suo matrimonio è andato in malora e l'ex mogli
...more
Talia Carner
Nov 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The journey of the Human Resource Man...

The original name of the novel in its Hebrew version is "The Mission of the Human Resource Man." And indeed, the journey is more of the nameless Human Resource director at a Jerusalem bakery than that of a woman killed during a Palestinian suicide bombing and becomes the focus of the Human Resource director's investigation.

The owner of the bakery is a retired, rich man who is sensitive to public criticism when it is discovered that the deceased woman was
...more
Ram
Sep 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this a few years ago....I don't remember too much
Susan
Nov 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a fast-paced, plot dominated novel that rings lots of bells and leaves the reader at the end laughing out loud but also seriously exploring the issues it raises.
The main character is “the human resources manager” of a large Jerusalem bakery. He used to be the top salesman but was transferred when extensive travel interfered with his home life. His wife divorced him anyway. The main focus of the novel is a corpse—and oddly the only character with a name—Yulia Ragayev, a non-Jewish immigr
...more
Rick
Aug 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A woman is killed in a terrorist bombing in Jerusalem. She has no ID and no relative or friend comes to claim her body at the morgue in the days following the incident. Then a reporter learns that she had a paystub from a large and famous bakery in her pocket and prepares to write a blistering article on the company’s insensitivity. His editor reaches out to the bakery’s owner for a comment and the owner orders his HR manager to investigate and make things right. From this not very compelling pl ...more
Carlo Cattivelli
Parlare di ‘risorse umane’ anziché di ‘personale’ è una delle piccole ipocrisie linguistiche del nostro tempo. Chi è chiamato a dirigere un ufficio simile deve avere un po’ di pelo sullo stomaco, e il protagonista di questo romanzo, innominato come tutti gli altri personaggi vivi, non fa differenza. E’ antipatizzante da subito:ha voluto l’intestazione di cui al titolo ma i dipendenti sono solo numeri, il desiderio del padrone è sacro, la ex-moglie lo odia, la figlia gli preferisce due appena con ...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
I think the GR description provides more information about the plot than I normally like to see. However, it does indicate - to me, at least - that the action would probably take place in Israel. I had thought when it says A. B. Yehoshua astonishes us with his masterly, often unexpected turns in the story and with his ability to get under the skin and into the soul of Israel today that there would be more, and more general, action in Israel. But the novel is more than 10 years old, and certainly ...more
jordan
Jul 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A woman is murdered in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem, her body long unclaimed, a journalist traces her to a bakery where she once worked and was not in death missed. The burial of this woman, Yulia Ragayev, the only person in this wonderful novel to have a name, launches the tale. The Bakery's Human Resource Director must find out who she was and what was her relationship to the bakery, in the process becoming emotionally attached to her. Indeed, it is a testament to Yehoshua's skills how well ...more
Maayan K
May 17, 2014 rated it did not like it
This is not AB Yehoshua's best work, to put it kindly. The story, about a large bakery's personnel manager tasked with dealing with the body of a foreign worker killed in a suicide bombing, may have been more interesting when it was published in 2003 in the midst of the second intifada, but I doubt it.

The story simply isn't interesting enough. And there are so many things to annoy. like, the fact that none of the characters (except for the dead woman) have names, and are only called by their ti
...more
Rachel Stroup
Jan 01, 2015 rated it liked it
This book was quite a unique read. Only one of the characters in the story is mentioned by name throughout the entire novel. The other characters are all described by their titles, such as "the resource manager", "the owner", etc. It is set in Jerusalem, and there has been a recent terrorist bombing of a local market. The book follows the story of a temporary employee of a bakery killed in the bombing, and the journey taken by the human resources manager at the bakery where she worked from her i ...more
Anna
Apr 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Very slim book, but full of things to meditate on. The story uses the death of a woman in Israel to explore identity; of both people, and nations, as well as the interrelationship of those two.

Yehoshua brilliantly chooses to give his main living character no name, but to fluctuate between calling him, the resource manager, or the emissary, and other such titles. The dead woman is in fact the only character granted a name, however the country of her origin is left a mystery, whereas the resource
...more
Chris
Jan 01, 2016 added it
A Woman in Jerusalem, by A.B. Yehoshua
Translated from the author’s native Hebrew this simple story of an unidentified foreign woman killed in a Jerusalem bomb attack drew me in. The main protagonist is a HR Manager of a large bakery organisation charged by the owner with finding out the woman’s story. All that is known about the woman is that she had a blood stained pay slip from the bakery in her pocket, but her name is obscured. A journalist is threatening to print a story exposing the organis
...more
Paula
Dec 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Yehoshua is such a humane writer. The unnamed hero is a lost soul who is sent on a mission to acertain the truth behind the accusation that his company has been cruel and neglectful to one of its employees who has died in a terrorist bombing. His journey is almost mythical as he realizes hidden truths about himself. At one point he seemingly descends to hell in the guise of an underground military base in the midst of an arctic unnamed exSoviet country where his attempts to do right by the woman ...more
Emme
Dec 25, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Il dirigente di una grande azienda. Un uomo per bene, affidabile eppure chiuso in sé come una chiocciola per non farsi sfiorare da nulla. Neanche dalla bellezza dei lineamenti tartari di una dipendente che lui stesso assume e di cui non conserva memoria - che viene tragicamente uccisa in un attentato terroristico. Quest'uomo responsabile, eppure distante, spinto dal proprietario dell'azienda ad assumersi colpe che in realtà non ha, intraprende un viaggio che lo porterà fuori dal suo guscio e lo ...more
Natalia Pì
Oct 24, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: israel
Non mi ha convinto. L'ho letto a fatica, e non l'ho mollato - come sono stata tentata di fare - solo perché molti amici-lettori sembrano trovarlo un buon libro, e volevo vedere se la mia opinione sarebbe cambiata, ma no. Non mi è piaciuto. E' andata un po' meglio nel capitolo sul viaggio, ma comunque non mi ha entusiasmato, l'ho trovato lento e non appassionante come altri libri letti di quest'autore.
Andrea Dowd
Sep 11, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
"A Woman in Jerusalem" had such interesting potential and then it got mired in its own wit. The translation seemed good and possibly even one of the better translators, but the story never picked up. I could not imagine reading another line of "but I couldn't understand why everyone thought this woman was so beautiful and I couldn't remember her!" Boring. I'm sure somewhere in the novel, not so cleverly cloaked, was a reference to Jerusalem and its personality/persona.
Aramis
Feb 11, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
HE: שליחותו של הממונה על משאבי אנוש
A seemingly simple storyline that leaves a lot of food for thought about what it takes to be humane in far from humanistic circumstances. Reminded me of home and made me want to read the original Hebrew.
Golan Schzukin
Uniq story that is on one hand enjoyable and funny, and also deep on the other hand
Elyse Walters
Sep 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A.B. Yehoshua has a new book --- to be released (in the U.S.) in March


Its called "The Retrospective". (looking forward to reading it)
Elizabeth Nelson
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really liked the multiplicity of voices in this book, especially when the people the manager met spoke in the collective "we". The pieces all fell into place in a very compelling way and the pace was basically perfect.

I appreciated that Yulia Ragayev, the dead cleaning woman, is the only person in this book who gets a name, while the rest are their title or their relationships. It elevates the whole journey to fable, while also being very personal and specific

The very end was a bit of a letdo
...more
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Abraham B. Yehoshua (אברהם ב. יהושע) 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.