Nir Baram

Portrait Nir Baram
© Hartwig Klappert

Nir Baram was born in Jerusalem in 1976. His father held two different ministerial roles under Yitzhak Rabin, which meant that Baram grew up in a liberal, left-wing political environment. He studied Hebrew literature at the University of Tel Aviv and today works as a publisher and editor at the Israeli publishing company Am-Oved and as a journalist for the daily »Haaretz« newspaper.

Baram was 22 years old when he published his first novel, »Sapperi li sippur ahava sagol« (1998; tr. Purple love story), which takes place in the months leading up to and after the murder of Yitzhak Rabin. In »Mahazir Hahalomot« (2006; tr. The remaker of dreams), the author tells the story of a man named Joel who has the ability to remake and influence the dreams of others, a gift that has disastrous consequences. Set against the backdrop of a city devastated by a hurricane, Baram paints an image of Tel Aviv and Israel that borders on the absurd. The book prompted one critic at Germany’s »FAZ« newspaper to compare Baram’s style of prose to that of Dostoyevsky in that both authors succeeded in moving beyond the limits of realism. Baram received international acclaim for his novel »Anashim Tovim« (2010; Eng. »Good People«, 2016) about a German market researcher and a Russian-Jewish woman who end up collaborating with dictatorial regimes on the eve of the Second World War; he produces a study on the Polish national character while she attempts to save her brother by betraying friends of her parents who are critical of the regime. Both protagonists recognize the consequences of their actions too late, and readers are confronted with the question of how they themselves would have behaved. As a member of the Two States – One Land initiative, Baram’s activities in the political realm reflect a clear position in favor of peace in Israel and equal rights for Palestinians. In 2014 and 2015, Baram traveled to the West Bank and spoke to different people about the reality of their lives, about which very little is actually known in Israel. These travels resulted in a collection of reportages »Be’ertz Ha’yeusch« (2016; tr. Land of despair), in which Baram explores the interwoven lives of Jews and Palestinians and argues that a division would only provoke a lack of mutual understanding. His most recent book is »Tzel Olam« (2013; tr. World shadow), a story that focuses on an employee at an American consulting firm who gets involved in a web of corruption and intrigue. Ultimately, he joins a group of anarchists and initiates a worldwide strike against capitalism and globalization. In this novel, Baram criticizes the Israeli left and its role in the peace process and economic liberalization. »Maybe the most impressive novel about our time« (»El Mundo«).

The author was nominated twice for the Israeli Sapir Prize. In 2010, he received the Prime Minister Award for Hebrew Literature for »Good People«. Nir Baram lives in Tel Aviv.