Posts Tagged ‘novelist’
Israel’s latest literary sensation was something of a late starter. Until 1999 she was a puppeteer in northern Israel and would have laughed at the notion of writing a novel. After all, she had never read one before. “I suffer from ADHD,” Sara Shilo explains when we meet in London. “As a child, I didn’t have enough concentration to read.”
Eleven years ago, however, when she was 40, she decided to give books a second chance. The first novel she picked up was Be My Knife, a dense exploration of obsessive love by the pre-eminent Israeli novelist David Grossman. Shilo was deeply affected. “The book awakened something profound inside me,” she says. “Suddenly I saw the world through someone else’s eyes. Nothing could be the same again.”
This encounter with fiction threw her into an existential crisis. The very next day she put her life on hold, stopped work and cancelled all social engagements. Without knowing why, she wrote a long letter to Grossman, explaining how his book had moved her.
“From the very first words of her letter, I could tell that Sara Shilo was special,” Grossman tells me from his home in Jerusalem. “She was not only describing reality with her writing. She was generating reality. There was something in the way she juxtaposed words, the rhythm of her sentences. It had a tangible, primal beauty.”