Wendy Brandmark

Big Trouble in a Little Kibbutz

Between Friends


Chatto & Windus 198pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

There’s a sad irony in the title of this linked collection of short stories set on a kibbutz in the 1950s. For the outsider and the eccentric, the closeness of the kibbutz society ‘offers no remedies for loneliness’. Zvi, a friendless bachelor, thrives on reports of death and disaster, as if bad news makes his own life more bearable. His isolation is experienced by characters in many of the stories. Moshe, a teenage boy sent to the kibbutz when his family breaks up, continues to visit his ill father. The kibbutz elders’ insistence that he forget about his family – ‘you’re almost one of us now’ – makes him feel he can never belong. In the stern ideology of the kibbutz, the past, so tainted by the Holocaust, has to be left behind or denied.

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