by Ilana Kurshan

Israeli Street Names Familiar as Old Friends

Authors Batya Gur and Yael Hedaya colonize the literary landscapes of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, respectively, in novels deeply rooted in the geography of Israel today. Gur’s detective novel Murder on Bethlehem Road takes place in Jerusalem’s Baka neighborhood, where the order of the streets (Reuven, Shimon, Levi, Yehuda) parallels the birth order of the twelve tribes. And Hedaya’s intimate domestic portrait Accidents is set in the cafes and apartments of downtown Tel Aviv, with its Bauhaus architecture and towering date palms. Reading these novels is like embarking on a guided tour of the neighborhoods of Israel’s two largest cities— except that you don’t need to put on sunblock before setting out.

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