Im iesh gan eden (Si hay un paraíso - Texto en Hebreo)


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Leshem, Ron
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Ron Leshem's debut novel, Im Yesh Gan Eden, has been a steady representative on the country's Hebrew-language best-sellers' list for the past eight months. Leshem, a 30-year-old journalist, won the 2006 Sapir Prize for Literature as well as the Yitzhak Sadeh Prize for Military Literature for his novel.

The story is written as the diary of a 20-something-year-old army officer, who, five years after the IDF officially withdrew from Lebanon, decides to go back to the year that messed up his life - the year the last unit of IDF soldiers spent on the legendary Beaufort Castle trying to prevent Hizbullah terrorists from bombing northern Israel. The narrator returns to River, the paramedic who promised to die for him; to Oshri, the sergeant who promised to shoot him if he lost a hand; to Zitlawi, who made up a language; to Spitzer, who stood in the snow and recited from Shakespeare's Henry V; and to those who did not return.

Leshem's writing is alive and readable. He employs a lot of slang and thus makes the book seem like one is almost eavesdropping on real conversations among soldiers. The novel expresses a difficult reality in which young soldiers give their lives for their country and their friends. These soldiers live in a place where life moves faster than one can imagine. Leshem offers a book that is at once funny and tragic. The story is one of politics, war, friendship and love.

Im Yesh Gan Eden has been described as a wild, hypnotic, frightening romance. Leshem's novel is currently being translated into English. While the Hebrew title means "If there is a paradise," the book is already in production as a film under the title Beaufort, and that's what the English version of the book will be called when it hits the shelves. Joseph Cedar is directing the film scheduled for release in 2007.


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