Elbom, Gilad 1968–
ELBOM, Gilad 1968–
PERSONAL: Born 1968, in Jerusalem, Israel. Education: Hebrew University; Otis College of Art and Design, M.F.A., 2003; University of North Dakota (Ph.D. candidate).
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Thunder's Mouth Press, 245 W. 17th St., 11th Fl., New York, NY 10011-5300.
CAREER: Writer. Worked as an assistant nurse in an Israeli mental institute. Military service: Served in the Israel Defense Forces.
SIDELIGHTS: In his first novel, Scream Queens of the Dead Sea, Gilad Elbom tells the story of a young man working in an Israeli mental hospital and having an affair with a married woman named Carmel, whose husband is dying of cancer. The novel's narrator, "Gilad Elbom," not only shares the author's real name but also the fact that the author at one time worked as an assistant nurse in a mental institution in Israel. Elbom, the character, is disenfranchised and cares for little except heavy metal music and literature. He does not treat the patients he works with particularly well. The hospital is populated by an assortment of characters, from a woman who claims she is dead to a homicidal patient who says he suffers from Faith Deficit Disorder and, as a result, believes in nothing. Throughout the book, Elbom and other characters comment on the writing of the novel, from the use of punctuation to how the characters feel they are being portrayed. As the story progresses, Elbom begins to show signs of mental instability and breaks down.
Writing on Bookslut.com, Adam Lipkin noted that, "Linking the deteriorating state of his fictional alterego's mind to the political and social chaos that envelopes Israel is a nice touch." However, Lipkin added, "the wacky stuff … about heavy metal and movies …, the political commentary, the rough sex, and the look at insanity, while all well written by themselves, fail to achieve true synergy." Nevertheless, the reviewer called the debut "impressive" and "a thoroughly enjoyable read." A Kirkus Reviews contributor commented that in Scream Queens of the Dead Sea, "A potentially clever debut falls apart under the weight of the writer's fascination with his own cleverness." Misha Stone, writing in Booklist, noted the author's "self-indulgent" style and called the book's plot "too meandering", but added that Elbom's "acerbic wit offers more than enough compensation." A Publishers Weekly contributor maintained that the author's "lively present-tense narrative pulls the reader into the story" and also called the effort "a multifaceted, hilarious and excruciatingly honest novel."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 1, 2004, Misha Stone, review of Scream Queens of the Dead Sea, p. 60.
Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2004, review of Scream Queens of the Dead Sea, p. 929.
Publishers Weekly, October 4, 2004, review of Scream Queens of the Dead Sea, p. 69.
Tikkun, January-February, 2005, Cynthia Hoffman, review of Scream Queens of the Dead Sea, p. 73.
Bookslut, http://www.bookslut.com/ (August, 2004), Adam Lipkin, review of Scream Queens of the Dead Sea.