Research output: Book/ReportBook


In this, his first novel, Be’er portrays the world of a deeply religious community in Jerusalem during the author’s childhood and adolescence in the 1950s and '60s. The novel is filled with vivid portraits of eccentric Jerusalem characters, chief among them the book’s main character, Mordecai Leder, who dreams of founding a utopian colony based on the theories of the 19th-century Viennese Jewish thinker Karl Popper-Lynkeus.
Similar high-flying dreams inspire the family of the narrator, strict Orthodox Jews with impractical minds and adventurous souls — men such as the narrator’s father who periodically disappears from home on botanical expeditions meant to prove that the willow tree of Scripture is in fact the Australian eucalyptus.

Experimental in structure and mood, "Feathers" features kaleidoscopic jumps in time, back and forth in the narrator’s memories from boyhood to adulthood. Its moods swing wildly from hilarity to the macabre, from familial warmth to the loneliness of adolescence. Jerusalem and its inhabitants, as well as the emotional life of the narrator, are splintered and reconstituted, shattered and patched. This fragmentation, combined with a preoccupation with death and physical dissolution and dreamlike flights of imagination, evokes an Israeli magical realism.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherBrandeis University Press
Number of pages256
ISBN (Electronic)9781611684834
ISBN (Print)9781584653714, 158465371X
StatePublished - 2004

Publication series

NameThe Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry series
PublisherBrandeis University Press


  • Jewish fiction


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