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Friendly Fire: A Duet

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3.67  ·  Rating details ·  353 ratings  ·  51 reviews
A couple, long married, are spending an unaccustomed week apart. Amotz, an engineer, is busy juggling the day-to-day needs of his elderly father, his children, and his grandchildren. His wife, Daniella, flies from Tel Aviv to East Africa to mourn the death of her older sister. There she confronts her anguished seventy-year-old brother-in-law, Yirmiyahu, whose soldier son w ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published November 10th 2008 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 2007)
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3.67  · 
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 ·  353 ratings  ·  51 reviews


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Jim Fonseca
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: israeli-authors
The book jacket gives a good summary, so I will start with that:

“A couple, long married, are spending an unaccustomed week apart. Ya’ari, an engineer, is busy juggling the day-to-day need of his elderly father, his children, and his grandchildren. His wife, Daniela, files from Tel Aviv to East Africa to mourn the death of her older sister. There she confronts her anguished brother-in-law, Yirmiyahu, whose soldier son was killed in the West Bank six years earlier by “friendly fire.” Yirmiyahu man
...more
Gauss74
Apr 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Avevo già notato in altre opere di Yehoshua come il perenne conflitto che come una maledizione insanguina la storia di Israele sia penetrato in profondità nel pensiero comune e nella vita di tutti i giorni del popolo ebraico.
Anche nei momenti di gioia familiare di una madre col suo figlio essa rimane, come un fastidioso mormorio lontano cui ci si abitua ma che non si può dimenticare, e di cui non si può non tener conto nel fare le proprie scelte.

Ma ci si potrà mai abituare alla guerra? Quando
...more
Billy
Feb 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
"Do everything possible to leave this world without complaints or bitterness." So says Amotz Ya'ari in this kind and gentle book.It is Hannukkah, and Amotz's wife, Daniela, a high school English teacher in Tel Aviv, is off to Tanzania to visit her brother-in-law. Daniela's sister has died recently and the brother-in-law, a retired Israeli diplomat, has decided not to return to Israel, but stay behind in East Africa. Amotz does not accompany Daniela, remaining in Tel Aviv to deal with family and ...more
Tittirossa
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Me lo aspettavo più denso, ma forse la nostra storia (noi non siamo coinvolti in una guerra che dura da 40 anni) non ci consente di percepirne fino in fondo la drammaticità e la complessità.
E' interessante e coinvolgente il ritmo alternato che da un lato osserva Yaari rimasto in patria a districarsi tra le beghe famigliari e lavorative, e dall'altro Daniela alle prese con il cognato e la realtà africana.
Yehoshua costruisce un canto e controcanto molto armonico: pur a migliaia di chilometri di
...more
Val
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-tour
I also found this book when looking for another by the author; the synopsis is not engaging enough to make it first choice. It is a slow paced story and most of it is about everyday concerns of family, work, ageing and coping with grief. The author has done an excellent job of making those everyday concerns into a compelling narrative.
There are two story lines following an elderly couple: the wife on a trip to visit her widowed brother-in-law in Tanzania and the husband at home in Tel Aviv with
...more
Alan
Mar 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
I went looking for a different Yehoshua book in the library, which they don't own, and checked out this title instead. I claim that it's my healthy alternative to impulse buying in a shopping mall. Even though I have twenty-some titles on my To Read list, all thoroughly vetted by Friends' recommendations, I'm still driven to taking risks and choosing a book by it's cover! Call me Crazy!

The story is a tale of an Israeli couple, Amotz and Daniela, who are separated for eight days while the wife vi
...more
Ingrid
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nonostante il finale non mi sia piaciuto affatto, non me la sono sentita di dare un voto più basso a un romanzo che mi ha decisamente incantato con le sue descrizioni così precise, profonde e toccanti, quasi ipnotiche, facendomi anche conoscere un po' di cultura e tradizioni israeliana.
Amots Yaari e Daniela, sposati da molti anni, si separano per una settimana quando lei va a trovare Yirmiyahu, vedovo di sua sorella, per cercare di elaborare il lutto. Il racconto passa dalla narrazione del viag
...more
Yair Ben-Zvi
Jan 25, 2011 rated it did not like it
Way too indulgent literature of decadence. Very weak. Yehshoua has apparently taken his status as grand old man of hebrew letters and ran with it as the entire novel feels phoned in. The narrative is lackluster and boring, the characters one dimensional and unsympathetic (and all slight variations of the same voice) and Yehoshua paints with such broad strokes (regarding Israel and ALL of Africa) that at times the story becomes nearly impossible to take seriously. The author's views apart from th ...more
Ubik 2.0
Un Yehoshua in evidente calo di ispirazione! Non basta la sua grande capacità narrativa, l'umanità di cui sa rivestire i personaggi, la capacità introspettiva, bisogna (Santiddio!) costruirci intorno un narrazione che abbia un minimo di evoluzione e significato che dia spessore alla vicenda (L'amante, Ritorno dall'India, Cinque serate, ecc... erano tutta un'altra cosa).
Leslie
Mar 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Yehoshua writes about ordinary, likable people leading ordinary lives sometimes disrupted by events. Sort of an Israeli Anne Tyler, and Israel itself is important to the book. I enjoyed this book very much.
Hermien
Nov 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jewish, middle-east
I loved the writing and the endearing family members. It had a similar feel to The Liberated Bride.
Jbradley
May 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Sex, death, love, infidelity, parents, children, Jews, Arabs, family, loss, howling winds and an elephant with a mysterious blue eye. Loved it.
Cloudbuster
Jun 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, medio-oriente
La mentalità del popolo israeliano è molto complessa per chi la osserva dall’esterno. Le vicende storiche, la difficile situazione politica ed i precetti religiosi si sono stratificati e combinati in una matassa che per noi è di ben difficile comprensione. Abraham Yehoshua è forse una delle più lucide voci che può guidarci in questo groviglio inestricabile e mostrarci dall’interno l’animo degli israeliani. Dall’alto della sua autorità può permettersi di porre domande profonde sul significato del ...more
Mirrordance
Anche se mi ha lasciato un senso di sospensione e un non comprendere fino in fondo dove volesse arrivvare il libro (tranne per le ultime pagine) affascina e ipnotizza il lettore. Due narrazioni scorrono parallele nel tempo, in Israele ed in Africa e le emozioni volano da un continente all'altro e si intrecciano. Amotz e Daniela una coppia attorno ai 60 trascorre separata le feste di Hannukkà. La settimana trascorre scandita dall'accensione delle candele rituali ed accompagnamo le emozioni ed i p ...more
Leo
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Uma aula sobre a diferença entre sutileza e monotonia. A premissa do enredo é interessante, mas há tanta banalidade ao longo do livro que você precisa lembrar o tempo todo das poucas cenas excelentes que o autor produziu na esperança de que outras semelhantes aconteçam.
Joy
Mar 23, 2009 is currently reading it
A really slow read. Many contemporary Israeli authors delve into the stoic at times obstinate psyche of what it means to be an Israeli and that narrative carries on for chapters. It's emotionally exhausting. I'll continue to slog through, waiting for a breakthrough.
Rita
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Heerlijk, vriendelijk boek, mooie verhaallijnen. Ook wordt de 'Palestijnse kwestie' weer eens mooi van verschillende kanten belicht.
Despoina Despoina
Apr 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Εξαιρετικό.
Πάμε για όλα τα υπόλοιπα βιβλία του Yehoshua.
Constance Groh
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a book to savor. An Israeli husband and wife part for a week, Hanukkah week, so that the wife, Daniela, can visit her widowed brother-in-law in Africa to mourn her sister's passing. The husband, Amotz, an elevator designer, puts aside his worries about Daniela's traveling alone and anticipates a quiet week. The week is not quiet, not for either of them. The book examines so many elements of human life, particularly aging and loss. And for anyone who loves or has visited Israel - this boo ...more
Shmuli Cohen
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Early modern Hebrew writers like Bialik, Agnon and Amichai, tended to focus on the collective experience. The emergence of writers like A.B. Yehoshua changed this emphasis to the individual – an individual at odds with society and with themself.
Friendly Fire is ostensibly about people. It uses an alternative discourse, the modern Israeli, far from the battlefield or the Kibbutz as the protagonist. By doing so, it relieves us from the harsh political realities of the modern state. The result is a
...more
Asya
Aug 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
I was almost won over by this novel, then it lost me for good. It was the plodding narrative that didn't distinguish between vital minutiae and the pile of unnecessary details, the lack of events of any sort or revelations, or change, it was the characters' flatness, and finally, it was that elevator metaphor that finally made me lose my patience. Elevator as responsibility of Israeli Jews toward their Arab neighbors? as interconnectedness? as the social fabric? I don't know, it didn't work, it ...more
Denise
Feb 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
I have never read anything about this author before, and I have to say that I was delighted with his work. I enjoyed this novel a lot, and it gave me a good glimpse of what life can be for a well-off older couple in modern Israel. How they cope with everyday life, family issues, death, mourning, separation, etc. It was a slow read, but not boring at all. It all happens during an eight-day holiday; Hanukkah. And with the lighting of each candle we get to see how the past and present of this famil ...more
Mimonni
Ho fatto molta fatica a leggerlo. Fino a pagina 200 sono stata sul punto di mollarlo. I capitoli sono la narrazione alternata a due di una settimana che due coniugi sessantenni israeliani, vivono lontani l’una dall’altro. Già questa scelta narrativa mi ha annoiata parecchio. la trama spesso si svolge tra particolari irrilevanti e ripetuti. Essendo l’autore di Gerusalemme penso che le sue chiavi stilistiche siano diverse dalla letteratura che abitualmente leggo e che quindi io non sia entrata in ...more
The Frahorus
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un libro capace di raccontare l'ordinario in maniera straordinaria, mettendo in risalto la successione di eventi che si vivono nel quotidiano.

Daniela decide di andare in Africa a trovare suo cognato a cui sono morti moglie e figlio. Qui a Morogoro ripercorrerà i momenti più belli vissuti con sua sorella. Nello stesso momento si descrive la settimana vissuta da suo marito, Amotz, ingegnere responsabile di ascensori, al quale gliene capitano di tutti i colori: prima il figlio lo richiamano al mili
...more
Meghan
Aug 06, 2015 rated it liked it
The storyline is nicely constructed, alternating between the husband staying at home in Israel and the wife traveling to Africa to grieve her deceased sister. Such a basis has promise for a compelling read; however, the reader's overall experience feels rather benign. There was no direct epiphany for any of the characters, and climatic moments were reduced to a few sentences. There were opportunities for greater dramatic tension, so it is unclear if the author bypassed such stark statements to m ...more
Nancy
Nov 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Friendly Fire / A. B. Yehoshua. This contemporary Israeli is a sometime favorite writer of mine. And this novel is at the top of the list. Tale of a Tel Aviv couple, sixtyish, who are apart for a week when the wife visits her widower brother-in-law in Tanzania. The author alternates brief sections between the two, touching upon issues of family, death, and professional life. The husband is an engineer whose firm designs elevators, which makes for an interesting subplot. There is a variety of cha ...more
Luca Cresta
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una storia molto particolare, quella narrata in questo romanzo, delicata, ironica, appassionante e molto ben scritta. In particolare ho apprezzato la descrizione della vita quotidiana in Israele di una famiglia israeliana media, alle prese con i problemi quotidiani, ma sempre sovrastata dalla tragedia della guerra permanente che pervade ogni fase della vita di tutti i giorni. Notevolissima anche la parte dedicata alla trasferta african di una dei protagonisti del romanzo. Una lettura al di fuori ...more
Chrinda Jones
Aug 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Yehosha did a wonderful job with this novel. His style of writing invokes a great deal of sympathy for the characters and situations he has written and the story he tells. He has taken two stories, ran them along side each other and drawn parallels between the Jewish suffering throughout the world and the Sudanese suffering in Africa.Sometimes the book is a bit disjointed and the parallels are difficult to see, but all in all it's a very nice piece of writing, and well worth reading if only for ...more
Leslie
Dec 08, 2008 rated it liked it
the story is compelling, the writing was not as I had hoped. Perhaps its the translation? Agai, it's difficult to read author's whose point of reference is not the US as I am basically ignorant of Israeli geography and current culture.

Merged review:

Highly recommended author from one of the ladies in my bookclub. Next bookclub meeting January 12. a difficult topic even more difficult as I am not familiar with Israeli geography or day to day life as I've not travelled there.
STAVROULA NTINTA
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Αυτό το βιβλίο το διάβασα στην ελληνική του έκδοση, μου άρεσε γιατί διαβάζεται εύκολα και δείχνει τη μεσοαστική κοινωνία του Ισραήλ στις μέρες μας κάνοντας ταυτόχρονα αναφορά στις αμφισβητήσεις ενός ήρωα του μυθιστορήματος ως προς το αν ο λαός του Ισραήλ είναι ο περιούσιος λαός του Θεού. Το βρήκα πολύ ενδιαφέρον.
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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.