Gur, Batya

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GUR, BATYA (1947–2005), Israeli writer and literary critic. Gur was born in Tel Aviv, studied Hebrew literature and history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and completed her M.A. in comparative studies. She worked as a high school teacher before moving to the United States and subsequently lived in Jerusalem, writing reviews and essays for the literary supplement of Ha-aretz and internationally known for her detective novels. The central figure in these novels is police detective Michael Ohayon, and the cases which he investigates lead to rather unusual domains such as literature, music, or psychotherapy while probing social and political aspects of current Israeli life. In Ha-Merḥak ha-Nakhon (1996; Murder Duet: A Musical Case, 1999), detective Ohayon investigates two murders in the world of classical music in Jerusalem, following the discovery of a requiem by Vivaldi; in Reẓaḥ, Meẓalmim (2004), Gur focuses on intrigues among the staff members of Israeli television. While her earlier thrillers seem to focus on social circles to be found anywhere in the world (a university department, the psychoanalytic society), her later novels consciously address local issues, turning the allegedly inferior genre of the detective story into a vehicle for reflecting on the erosion of the Zionist ethos and the maladies of Israeli society. Among her other books are Reẓaḥ be-Shabbat ba-Boker (1988; The Saturday Morning Murder: A Psychoanalytic Case, 1991), Mavet ba-Ḥug le-Sifrut (1989; Literary Murder: A Critical Case, 1993), Linah Meshutefet (1991; Murderon a Kibbutz: A Communal Case, 1994), and Even Taḥat Even ("Stone under Stone," 1998). Gur's novels have been translated into many languages.


D. Gavrieli, Konvenẓiyot bi-Sefat ha-Guf ba-Roman Reẓaḥ be-Shabbat ba-boker (1996); N. Sokoloff, "Jewish Mysteries. Detective Fiction by Faye Kellerman and Batya Gur," in: Shofar, 15/3 (1997), 66–85; Ch. Bala, "Kriminalistischer Postzionismus? Israel in den Romanen von Batya Gur und Shulamit Lapid," in: Zacher, 10 (2000), 61–73; D. Abramovich, "Israeli Detective Fiction: The Case of Batya Gur and Shulamit Lapid," in: Australian Journal of Jewish Studies, 14 (2000), 147–79; G. Bronstein, "Kulam Hayu Baneinu" (on mourning and Gur's novel "Stone under Stone"), in: Ha-Mishpat, 13 (2002), 54–66; H. Hever, in: Haaretz (May 27, 2005); A. Hirschfeld, in: Haaretz (June 17, 2005).

[Anat Feinberg (2nd ed.)]