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Muck It s hard to refer to something so apocalyptic as an entertainment, but that s primarily what it is a brilliant, entertaining display of imagination and literary including translation skills This novel is singular in many ways, including the way Burstein melds together the biblical and contemporary It is also a critique of present day Israel amazingly, with an omission of Palestinians that is not right wing, because Jeremiah lived in an era of tribes far smaller than Palestinians politica It s hard to refer to something so apocalyptic as an entertainment, but that s primarily what it is a brilliant, entertaining display of imagination and literary including translation skills This novel is singular in many ways, including the way Burstein melds together the biblical and contemporary It is also a critique of present day Israel amazingly, with an omission of Palestinians that is not right wing, because Jeremiah lived in an era of tribes far smaller than Palestinians politically, it s making fun of the right s insistence of seeing the land of Israel in historical terms when does this stop However, what makes this novel is not the politics, but the author s amazing imagination, his equally amazing chutzpah, and his ability to create something new out of a text that is not only very old, but extremely repetitive, annoying God at His most jealous and vindictive , and apparently out of date Burstein does a great job of filling in the Book of Jeremiah s blanks with characters that are cartoonish, but sympathetic or not Of course, the fun can t last, and the ending is painful and bleak But what else is new A 4.5 A modern retelling of the Old Testament book of Jeremiah Many of the original historical figures of the book are present Jeremiah, Hilkiah his father, here a doctor instead of a priest , the kings Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, Zedekiah, even a brief appearance by Nebuchadnezzar , etc and large chunks of the prophecies as they appear in the Bible The author is particularly adept at creating the feeling of political unease and unrest that must have been present during the biblical period in A modern retelling of the Old Testament book of Jeremiah Many of the original historical figures of the book are present Jeremiah, Hilkiah his father, here a doctor instead of a priest , the kings Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, Zedekiah, even a brief appearance by Nebuchadnezzar , etc and large chunks of the prophecies as they appear in the Bible The author is particularly adept at creating the feeling of political unease and unrest that must have been present during the biblical period in this region, as the Kingdom of Judah was littlethan a pawn of the great powers of the time Assyria, Egypt, Babylonia and his updating the story serves to underline the fact that this portion of the world still experiences the same unease and unrest albeit in different ways The almost free association of parts of the text made the story difficult to follow at times and the story seemed to backtrack upon itself in ways that make it a challenge for the reader to determine what happened when There are bits, too, that border on a slapstick that seems incongruous with the underlying seriousness of the story King Jehoiakim, for example, seeing the Babylonians coming from a distance to punish him for having suspended vassal payments, chooses to commit suicide by leaping head first into a huge vat of hummus Were I permitted to do so, I would give this book 2 starsbut since that is not possible and I do not think this book will have a wide appeal to many , I will grade it at 2 Around the World Readathon IsrealA puppet King, Zedekiah rather, insert current politician s name of your choice is installed by a far smarter andpowerful King, Nebuchadneezer again, insert politician s name Zedekiah is incompetent and clueless and destroys the atmosphere, health care, anything and everything Zedekiah s wife, Noa insert lovely lady s name is redone head to toe by court physicians and made into a glorious beauty, but Zedekiah hates her anyway Jeremiah Spec Around the World Readathon IsrealA puppet King, Zedekiah rather, insert current politician s name of your choice is installed by a far smarter andpowerful King, Nebuchadneezer again, insert politician s name Zedekiah is incompetent and clueless and destroys the atmosphere, health care, anything and everything Zedekiah s wife, Noa insert lovely lady s name is redone head to toe by court physicians and made into a glorious beauty, but Zedekiah hates her anyway Jeremiah Special Investigator, for example screams and screams the truth, but he s just tortured and put in a pit of muck what s left of the destroyed environment Then Nebuchadneezer yes, the guy in the Bible invades and destroys what used to be a great country You can find this exat story in the Bible Book of Jeremiah so many, especially really good Christians know it and have read it many times So at least 40% of America will be overjoyed at this magnificent portrait of ZedekiahBut a majority of Americans will be horrified This is a beautifully written take on that Biblical story, very contemporary, and extremely relevant to our world today I loved this big, bizarre, delirious book A bold, outlandish retelling of a Biblical story that I am, alas, unfamiliar with , it s a vertiginous cacophony of ancient and modern, a surreal and parodic tale laced with unease, melancholy, and absurd humor The sweep of the world calls to mind the great masterpieces of modernism, but the prose is much friendlier A strange and wonderful novel. What if the Jeremiah story happened with today s traffic, transportation, and technology.Burstein plugged in the names, the prophecies and the royalty but updated everything else It is true nothing different happens under the son.This book was hilarious and would be even better as a discussion because i missed a lot of historical nuances. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here This is one of the strangest books I ve ever read It is a sort of retelling of the books of Second Kings andJeremiah, with the main characters being the last three kings of Judah and the prophet, with appearances by Nebuchadnezzar and several of his officers, and other historical figures It is set in present day Jerusalem so there are references to the light railway, there s a biggest bowl of hummus Guinness world record, and Jehoyachin second of the three kings is off being a concert pianis This is one of the strangest books I ve ever read It is a sort of retelling of the books of Second Kings andJeremiah, with the main characters being the last three kings of Judah and the prophet, with appearances by Nebuchadnezzar and several of his officers, and other historical figures It is set in present day Jerusalem so there are references to the light railway, there s a biggest bowl of hummus Guinness world record, and Jehoyachin second of the three kings is off being a concert pianist in Italy The prophet grapples with his calling and with the kings who don t like his prophecies, though this theme gets sidetracked frequently, while the kings try to figure out whether to submit to Babylon or ally with Egypt Sometimes the prophet speaks in direct quotes from the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations As an attempt to make the characters relatable, as opposed to sketchy biblical figures, this book sort of succeeds As a fantasy, it s a failure Putting the actions in present day Jerusalem was unnecessary to the character development Meanwhile, the fantasy is poorly realized and, since it defies logic anyway, never really works It s just sort of sardonic I kept wondering if the whole thing was a metaphor but never could find one There s the occasional clever scene, like the hummus thing, but mostly it just drags I finally decided that it s just entertainment As entertainment, it s really a slog I read it in Hebrew and am surprised that there are no reviews in Hebrew The author is supposed to have a pretty good following in Israel This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here A modern dress retelling of the book of Jeremiah.Translated from the Hebrew, this takes place in both modern and ancient times and is quite funny Admittedly, it s not an easy read and I had to look up Jeremiah as well as some Babylonian kings but how can you help liking a book where the world s biggest bowl of hummus competition is taking place And the king commits suicide by falling into it.Kudos to the translator. Those who lament that the novel has lost its prophecy should pay heed and cover price Muck is the future, both of Jerusalem and of literature God is showing some rare good taste, by choosing to speak to us through Dror Burstein Joshua Cohen, author of Moving Kings and Book of NumbersIn a Jerusalem both ancient and modern, where the First Temple squats over the populace like a Trump casino, where the streets are literally crawling with prophets and heathen helicopters buzz over Old Testament sovereigns, two young poets are about to have their lives turned upside downStruggling Jeremiah is worried that he might be wasting his time trying to be a writer the great critic Broch just beat him over the head with his own computer keyboard Mattaniah, on the other hand, is a real up and comer but he has a secret he wouldn t want anyone in the literary world to know his late father was king of JudahJeremiah begins to despair, and in that despair has a vision that Jerusalem is doomed, and that Mattaniah will not only be forced to ascend to the throne but will thereafter witness his people slaughtered and exiled But what does it mean to tell a friend and rival that his future is bleak What sort of grudges and biases turn true vision into false prophecy Can the very act of speaking a prediction aloud make it come true And, if so, does that make you a seer, or just a schmuck Dramatizing the eternal dispute between poetry and power, between faith and practicality, between haves and have nots, Dror Burstein s Muck is a brilliant and subversive modern dress retelling of the book of Jeremiah a comedy with apocalyptic stakes by a star of Israeli fiction Calling it early one of my favorite books I ll read this year That isn t to say it s flawless It s difficult, odd, half a retelling, a quarter reinvention and a quarter satire The kind of book that deserves re reading 400 pages that read quickly Muck is not for everyone, but for the remnant, it s an interesting and, at times, profoundly moving work. First book I ve read by this author, and I d certainly read another By setting the novel in an odd hybrid of ancient and modern Israel, Burstein deftly points out repeating cycles of history a sad warning about the future We get prophets dueling it out on public transport, dogs that selectively talk and serve as angels, a brash literary critic who beats poets over the heads with their keyboards and volunteers for the cops, a stadium sized bowl of hummus, and some expertly crafted scenes of ma First book I ve read by this author, and I d certainly read another By setting the novel in an odd hybrid of ancient and modern Israel, Burstein deftly points out repeating cycles of history a sad warning about the future We get prophets dueling it out on public transport, dogs that selectively talk and serve as angels, a brash literary critic who beats poets over the heads with their keyboards and volunteers for the cops, a stadium sized bowl of hummus, and some expertly crafted scenes of marriage, suicide, siege, and apocalypse Good slow burn built by establishing a sympathetic character, and then making him King of Judah doesn t take long for greed, corruption, and forced plastic surgery to take over Tons of laughs, but the ending is dour, as should be expected this is based on the book of Jeremiah, after all In other words, the main character here also lands in a pit Pub Date Nov 13


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