Shalev, Zeruya

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SHALEV, ZERUYA (1959– ), Hebrew writer. Shalev, born on Kibbutz Kinneret, studied Biblical Studies at the Hebrew University, and published a collection of poems in 1989. Six years later her first novel, Rakadeti, Amadeti ("Dancing, Standing Still," 1993) came out, the story of a woman whose marriage is disintegrating, confronting her with suppressed anxieties and dormant passions. It was, however, Shalev's second novel, Ḥayyei Ahava (1997; Love Life, 2000), which made the author famous worldwide. The novel, an outstanding bestseller in Israel, describes the stormy relationship between Ya'arah, a married woman who is trying to complete her dissertation on legends describing the destruction of the Temple, and the much older Aryeh, a married man, who, as it turns out, was once her mother's lover. The relationship between the two is characterized by obsessive intensity, sado-masochistic sexuality, infatuation, yearning, and revulsion. Shalev, one of the most successful contemporary Hebrew writers, was awarded the Book Publishers' Associations' Golden and Platinum Book Prizes for this novel as well as for her third novel, Ba'al ve-Ishah (2000; Husband and Wife, 2002). The latter focuses on the crisis in the marriage of Na'amah and Udi, after the husband has undergone a Kafkaesque metamorphosis and is unable to live a normal life. In 2005 Shalev published the third novel in her family-trilogy: Tera ("Late Family") is the story of 36-year-old archeologist Ella Miller, who sets out to explore the freedom and joys of a new love relationship, leaving behind her family. Shalev's language is rich and captivating, her descriptions bold and vivid. Love, sexuality and betrayal, motherhood, family life and commitment are the major themes in her prose. Shalev also wrote a book for children "Mama's Best Boy" (2000). Shalev won the German Corine Book Award (2001) and the French Amphi Award.

For translations of her prose, see the ithl website at


A. Wimer, "Kamah Ḥomer be-Tezah Sheḥorah Aḥat: Al Ḥayyei Ahava," in: Dappim le-Meḥkar be-Sifrut, 12 (2000), 317–31; S. Zur, "Zu Yalduti ha-Sheniyyah: al Yaldut ve-Imahut be-Ba'al ve-Ishah shel Z. Shalev," in: Moznayim, 74:9 (2000), 32–35; Y. Schwartz, "The Frigid Option: A Psychocultural Study of the Novel Love Life by Z. Shalev," in: History and Literature (2002), 479–88; T. Yaniv, "Keriah Intertekstualit be-Aggadot ha-Ḥurban be- Ḥayyei Ahavah shel Z. Shalev," in: Dimui, 22 (2003), 75–79.

[Anat Feinberg (2nd ed.)]