Assaf Gavron

Portrait Assaf Gavron
© Hartwig Klappert

Assaf Gavron was born in 1968 and grew up in Jerusalem. Following his studies in London and Vancouver, the son of English immigrants made a name for himself writing a column about fast food in a local magazine in Jerusalem.While Assaf Gavron’s second published work »Min Bebet Haalmin« (2000; Sex in the Cemetery) presents the everyday lives of young Israelis living far from their homeland in a collection of lucid and cutting short stories, the novel that followed, »Moving« (2003), was a highly-charged, absurd, fast-paced and witty story about a Jewish removal company in New York. When three of the removal company employees have enough of hard work and steal a truck full of prepared gaming machines which was supposed to be delivered to the Russian mafia, the book develops to become an intricate road novel that »deals with the Zionist and the American dream as well as the tense relationship between young Israelis and their homeland and an uncertain future« (»Ha’aretz«). Gavron then caused a stir with »CrocAttack« (2006), in which he interweaves the story of two men – provocatively and subtly in equal measure. One of them is a Jewish man whose life starts to fall apart when he becomes the hero of Israeli resistance because he has survived several brutal attacks. The other is a Palestinian who, trapped between indignity, liberation pathos and love for his family, gets caught up in an attempt to kill the apparently immortal and always escaping Israeli. Gavron’s experiences from his time in the Israeli Army as well as the second Intifada form the background before which the suffering of both sides is presented in an unsparing light. His last novel »The Hilltop« (2013) tells in a satirical narrative the story of an illegal, but initially tolerated Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, the existence of which ultimately triggers an international crisis. German newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, called it »a political novel in the best possible sense, which never aims at crude indoctrination, but tells a complex story with extreme precision and all ambivalences«.Besides his writing activities, Gavron has also translated J. D. Salinger, Jonathan Safran Foer and Philip Roth among others into Hebrew. What is more, he is also the singer and songwriter in Israeli band The Mouth and was involved in the concept design of the computer game »PeaceMaker«. In the game, the players, either as the Israeli Prime Minister or the Palestinian President, face the challenge of peacefully resolving the simulated Middle East conflict by reacting to real pieces of news. Gavron has been awarded several prizes, including the Israeli Prime Minister’s prize for authors in 2011and the Bernstein prize in 2013. He teaches creative writing at several Israeli universities and lives in Tel Aviv.