Mandelman, Avner 1947–

views updated

MANDELMAN, Avner 1947–


Born July 22, 1947, in Tel Aviv, Israel; citizen of Canada; son of Rafael and Regina (a homemaker) Mandelman; children: Ron, Dan. Education: Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, B.Sc., 1972; Stanford University, M.B.A., 1976; San Francisco State University, M.A., 1993. Politics: "Ars über alles." Religion: Jewish. Hobbies and other interests: Boxing, violin, reading, "my kids."


Home—Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Agent—Victoria Gould-Pryor, 31 Lake Place N., Danbury, CT 06810. E-mail[email protected].


Giraffe Capital Corporation (freelance stock analysis firm), president. Military service: Israeli Air Force, 1965-68.


Pushcart Prize, 1991; first prize in short story contest, Ma'anv (Israel); Sophie Brody Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Jewish Literature, 2006.


Talking to the Enemy (short stories), Oberon Press (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), 1998, published as Talking to the Enemy: Stories, Seven Stories Press (New York, NY), 2005.

Cuckoo (short stories), Oberon Press (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), 2003.

Work represented in anthologies, including Best American Short Stories, 1995, and in a Pushcart Prize anthology.


Mandelman's short story "Pity" was adapted as a solo play, presented as a reading in San Francisco, CA, at American Conservatory Theater, 1995, and later presented in New York City, at Symphony Space, and broadcast by National Public Radio.


Avner Mandelman was born in Israel and served in the Israeli Air Force from 1965 to 1968. Thereafter he immigrated to Canada, where he worked in the stock market and began writing short stories. He puts these varied experiences to use in his collection Talking to the Enemy: Stories, a "probing" work, according to a Kirkus Reviews critic. The book's nine stories informally trace the history of Israel from its birth to the current day; several of the tales feature the Mossad agent Mickey, as he trains for his spy work, attempts to kidnap a Nazi war criminal from Paris, and then passes into retirement. For the Kirkus Reviews contributor, the stories in this collection are "taut" and "nuanced." Similar praise came from a Publishers Weekly reviewer, who concluded: "With these agile, vernacular stories, Mandelman takes a clear-sighted yet empathetic view of a fraught nation."

Avner Mandelman once told CA: "I write so that my stories survive. My work is influenced by Nabokov, Plutarch, Gogol, Waugh, and P.G. Wodehouse. I write against the grain, trying to prove myself wrong, then shape the result so as to keep the reader hooked. I aim at two things only: that once you start reading, you could not stop; and that once you finish, you could not forget it. Therefore the running theme in all my stories is 'necessary evil.' It is a strongly agitating theme and leads, when shaped correctly, to both irresistibility and unforgettability. That's it."



Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2005, review of Talking to the Enemy: Stories, p. 499.

Publishers Weekly, May 30, 2005, review of Talking to the Enemy, p. 36.

Tikkun, September-October, 2005, review of Talking to the Enemy, p. 81.


ALA Web site, (January 24, 2006), "Avner Mandelman Receives First Sophie Brody Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Jewish Literature."

Oberon Press Web site, (May 19, 2006), biography of Avner Mandelman.

Seven Stories Press Web site, (May 19, 2006), biographical information on Avner Mandelman.*