22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Ayelet Gundar-Goshen

Portrait Ayelet Gundar-Goshen
© Ali Ghandtschi

Ayelet Gundar-Goshen was born in 1982 in Israel and studied psychology at the University of Tel Aviv as well as screenwriting at the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School in Jerusalem. She worked as a news editor for the daily newspaper »Jedi’ot Acharonot« and wrote pieces for the BBC, »Financial Times«, the »New York Times«, and the »Daily Telegraph«. In 2017, she published an essay in »Time Magazine« in which she contextualizes the plans for a US-Mexico border wall and Israel’s simultaneous deportation of Eritrean refugees and in the hope for an empathetic assumption of at least a minimum amount of responsibility.

Her first novel »Laila Echad, Markowitz« (2012; Eng. »One Night, Markovitch«, 2015) wins the reader over with its inconspicuous but stubborn hero. Jakob enters a marriage of convenience with Bella in order to make it possible for her to escape from the Nazis. After arriving in Palestine, he clings to the woman with the descriptive name although she entertains other romantic ideas. Gundar-Goshen illuminates the time prior to the founding of the Israeli state with a knack for mismatched characters, subtly comedic dialogues, and dashes of magical realism. Inspired by a real encounter, in »Leha’ir Arajot« (2014; Eng. »Waking Lions«, 2014) the author fuses elements of thriller with ambivalent characterizations when a neurosurgeon commits a hit-and-run after running over an African refugee on a desert road near Beer-Sheva. While his police officer wife unknowingly investigates the case, the doctor is instructed by the dead man’s widow to help out at a provisional clinic for illegal immigrants. In the middle of the Negev, the privileged doctor discovers a reality that shakes up his self-perception. Even more incisive is »Ha-Shakranit Ve-Ha-Ir« (2018; tr: The Liar and the City), which focuses on situational transgressions with shocking existential consequences. When a choleric pop singer tries to appease an ice-cream seller after a tirade, he is suspected of having abused her. The young woman’s refusal to inform the public of the true circumstances gives rise to an unmanageable construct of lies and reveals social problems on a grand scale. The plot of her most recent novel, »Relocation« (2020), is set in the United States. and focuses on the insecurities of a mother whose son, whom she thinks she knows best, poses the greatest of riddles.

The author has been awarded, among others, the Berlin Today Award (2012), the Sapir Prize for the best Hebrew-language début (2013), the Adei Wizo Prize (2016) and the Wingate Literary Prize from »Jewish Quarterly« (2017). Gundar-Goshen lives in Tel Aviv, where she teaches clinical psychology at the university as well as the Holon Institute of Technology and is a member of the Israeli civil rights movement.