Hedaya, Yael 1964–
Hedaya, Yael 1964–
PERSONAL: Born 1964, in Jerusalem, Israel. Education: Studied philosophy in Jerusalem, Israel; studied creative writing in New York, NY.
CAREER: Yediot Aharonot, Israel, journalist and humor columnist; teacher of journalism and creative writing.
Ha-Nefashot ha-po'alot (novel), Sifriyat Ma'ariv (Or Yehudah, Israel), 1994.
Sheloshah sipure ahavah (stories), 'Am 'oved (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1997, translated by Dalya Bilu as Housebroken: Three Novellas, Metropolitan Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Te'unot (novel), 'Am 'oved (Tel Aviv, Israel), 2001, translated by Jessica Cohen as Accidents, Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt (New York, NY), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Yael Hedaya is an Israeli journalist and author whose first book to be translated into English is Housebroken: Three Novellas. The title novella is the story of a couple who takes in a stray dog the health and well being of which parallel the ups and downs of their relationship. As the male protagonist of Matti dies, two women—his wife and a lover from the past—see him for who he might have been rather than who he truly was. The Happiness Game is about the failed and then revived relationship of an elderly couple and that of their daughter, whose brief affair cannot provide her the stability she desires. Library Journal contributor Rebecca Stuhr commented on the darkness of Hedaya's fictional relationships, writing that "readers will conclude that happiness is created from within oneself and is, perhaps, most safely maintained on one's own." A Publishers Weekly reviewer, who felt that the collection features "some strong writing and fully imagined characters," wrote that "readers with a taste for existential angst will be the likeliest audience for these stories."
According to a Publishers Weekly contributor, Hedaya's novel Accidents "contains one of the best descriptions of bad sex with the wrong person (in an attempt to avoid the right person) ever." University professor Yonatan Luria is a successful author who now suffers from writer's block. He and his ten-year-old daughter, Dana, have been on their own since his wife, Ilana, died five years earlier in an automobile accident. Yonatan has remained celibate, but when he meets Shira Klein, a younger writer with a successful novel to her credit, the two are attracted to each other. Both have commitment phobia, however, and the first kiss is not accomplished until the second half of the novel. Other concerns in Hedaya's novel include the failing health of Shira's father, Max, and Dana's preadolescent problems. In a Library Journal review of Accidents, Molly Abramowitz praised the author's "depiction of the interior lives of writers as well as the skillful portrayal of delicate family dynamics."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 1, 2001, Danise Hoover, review of Housebroken: Three Novellas, p. 1665; August, 2005, Barbara Bibel, review of Accidents, p. 1992.
Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2005, review of Accidents, p. 703.
Library Journal, April 1, 2001, Rebecca Stuhr, review of Housebroken, p. 136; September 1, 2005, Molly Abramowitz, review of Accidents, p. 131.
Publishers Weekly, June 18, 2001, review of Housebroken, p. 57; July 11, 2005, review of Accidents, p. 57.