The Italian Cultural Institute in Tel Aviv will host on 8 December (at 17:00 Italian time) a meeting, titled “Italy is my second home”, with Israeli author Abraham B. Yehoshua, on the occasion of the publication in Italy of his latest novel The Only Daughter. The meeting will be attended by the Italian Ambassador to Israel Sergio Barbanti.
The event will be streamed live on the Institute’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.
The Only Daughter is Yehoshua’s first novel to be set in Italy, with which the writer has a special relationship, to the point of calling himself an “honorary citizen” of our country. It’s his thirteenth novel, to date. Published in Israel in the spring, it has recently been published in Italy by Einaudi in a version edited by the author himself, with a translation by Alessandra Shomroni.
At the centre of the story are the issues of identity and family, culture and tradition. The protagonist is Rachele Luzzato, a curious and intelligent twelve-year-old girl, the only daughter of a wealthy Jewish family, who lives in between two different cultures, in fact, while her father is Jewish, her mother is Catholic. Rachele attends secondary school in a town in northern Italy and is chosen to play Maria in the school’s Nativity Play for Christmas. From here, she will begin a journey of discovery of her roots and identity.
Yehoshua’s connection with Italy originated from his reading Heart (Cuore) by the Italian writer Edmondo De Amicis, which was the book that made him realise that he wanted to become a writer. Heart receives a mention also in The Only Daughter, when Yehoshua deals with the theme of filial love through two stories by De Amicis, The Little Florentine Writer and The Nanny, in which a son tries to save his father.
Abraham B. Yehoshua, one of the most important Israeli writers and playwrights of his time, was born in Jerusalem in 1936, into a family of Sephardic origin. His father Yaakov Yehoshua was a historian. He has taught at the American universities of Harvard, Chicago and Princeton and comparative literature at the University of Haifa. During his stay in Paris, he also served as Secretary General of the World Union of Jewish Students. His first book was a collection of short stories, Mot Hazaken (The Death of the Old Man, 1962). His works have been translated into twenty-two languages. In Italy, all his novels have been published by Einaudi, including L’amante (The Lover, 1977), Un divorzio tardivo (A Late Divorce, 1982), Viaggio alla fine del millennio (A Journey to the End of the Millennium, 1997) and La sposa liberata (The Liberated Bride, 2002). In 2005, he published a collection of short stories called L’ultimo comandante.