Liebrecht, Savyon 1948–

views updated

Liebrecht, Savyon 1948–

PERSONAL: Born 1948, in Munich, Germany; immigrated to Israel; married; children: two. Education: Attended Tel Aviv University.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Persea Books, 853 Broadway, Ste. 604, New York, NY 10003.

CAREER: Writer. Military service: Served in Israeli military.

AWARDS, HONORS: Alterman Prize, 1987, for Tapuohim min ha-midbar: sipurim.



Tapuohim min ha-midbar: sipurim, Sifriyat po alim (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1986, translation by Marganit Weinberger-Rotman and others published as Apples from the Desert: Selected Stories, foreword by Grace Paley, introduction by Lily Rattock, Feminist Press (New York, NY), 1998.

Susim al kevish gehah: sipurim (title means "Horses on the Highway"), Sifriyat po alim (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1988.

Sinit ani medaberet elekha (title means "It's All Greek to Me, He Said to Her"), Keter (Jerusalem, Israel), 1992.

Tsarikh sof le-sipur ahavah (title means "On Love Stories and Other Endings"), Keter (Jerusalem, Israel), 1995.

Makom tov le-lailah, Keter (Jerusalem, Israel), 2002, translation by Sondra Silverston published as A Good Place for the Night: Stories, Persea Books (New York, NY), 2006.


Ish ve-ishah ve-ish, Keter (Jerusalem, Israel), 1998, translation by Marsha Pomerantz published as A Man and a Woman and a Man: A Novel, Persea Books (New York, NY), 2001.

Nashim mi-tokh okaotalog: sheloshah sipurim (novellas; title means "Mail-order Women"), Keter (Jerusalem, Israel), 2000.

Ha-Nashim Shel Aba (novel; title means "The Women My Father Knew"), Keter (Jerusalem, Israel), 2005.

Also wrote at least three plays, including It's All Greek to Me, and numerous television scripts.

Author's works have been translated into Italian, Chinese, Estonian, and German.

SIDELIGHTS: Savyon Liebrecht was born in 1948 in post-World War II Germany to parents who were survivors of Nazi death camps. When Liebrecht was one year old, her family immigrated to Israel, where she has since made her home. She went to school for a time in England, then returned to Tel Aviv, married, and had two children. It was only after starting her family that she began her writing career. Her parent's painful experiences of the Holocaust and their reluctance to talk about it greatly influenced her choice of career and subject matter.

Apples from the Desert: Selected Stories, originally published in Hebrew as Tapuohim min ha-midbar: sipurim, is a collection of twelve short stories. These stories are depictions of personal and political conflict in modern-day Israel. Suzanne Ruta, in a review of the book for the New York Times Book Review, observed that "pregnant situations intrigue [the author] more than rounded characters." Ruta concluded. "These finely wrought stories of private lives shed light on a terrifying political conflict." Molly Abramowitz, writing in the Library Journal, noted that Liebrecht's stories embody a feminist viewpoint and also describe an "older generation who remembers the Holocaust and the younger generation, who would prefer to forget it." Grace Paley wrote in the foreword to Apples from the Desert that Liebrecht's stories are "personal—but they are also fierce pleas for understanding and justice."

In addition to collections of short stories, Liebrecht has also written several novels. The translation of Liebrecht's first novel, Ish ve-ishah ve-ish, was published as A Man and a Woman and a Man in English. The primary character is Hamutal, a woman facing many difficulties in her life. Her job editing a psychology journal is unfulfilling, and her mother is in a nursing home suffering from Alzheimer's. Hamutal's mother sometimes mistakes her daughter for people she met during the Holocaust. The married Hamutal finds some release when she begins an affair with Saul, a man whose father is dying at the same nursing home. Their affair lasts only a few days as Saul returns to his home in the United States after his father dies, but the emotional effect of this and other events in Hamutal's life continue to resonate in this exploration of her life. A critic in Kirkus Reviews commented: "Liebrecht handles the material with a sureness of tone and a sensitivity of feeling that make it resonate powerfully."



Grace Paley, "Foreword," Savyon Liebrecht, Apples from the Desert: Selected Stories, translated by Marganit Weinberger-Rotman and others, Feminist Press (New York, NY), 1998.


Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2001, review of A Man and a Woman and A Man: A Novel, p. 823.

Library Journal, September 15, 1998, Molly Abramowitz, review of Apples from the Desert, p. 115.

New York Times Book Review, September 13, 1998, Suzanne Ruta, review of Apples from the Desert, p. 36.