Novel, Zmora Bitan publishing house, Israel, 2016
Longlisted for the Sapir Prize 2016
Author Amos Oz:
“When I started reading the novel My Sister by Moshe Sakal, I could not stop. I found in it things that I liked and which spoke to me very much. Almost all the characters in this book are both divided souls and merging souls, each character becoming one with another. And that is sophisticated and fascinating.”
Moshe Sakal’s best seller, My Sister, tells the story of Neta and her relationships with her two younger brothers. She is single and longs to adopt a child from Russia. The youngest brother, Tomer, a brilliant and mysterious young man, earns money as a sperm-donor in Israel and in the USA, to help his sister raise the funds for adopting his future niece. The adopted girl, Nadia, becomes very attached to her young uncle—thanks to whom she was, in a sense, “reborn.” But things get complicated as Nadia grows up and begins to wonder about her biological father back in Russia. Tomer, on the other hand, is terrified by the thought of his many biological children. Nadia and Tomer each experience their separate crises of identity and find their ways to surprising resolutions.
The novel is narrated by the eldest brother, Lior, who has a very close relationship with his sister (“Sometimes you can’t tell where she ends and I begin”). He is married to a German woman, and has a strained relationship with his parents.
My Sister explores the different forms modern families can take, and looks at the ethical and practical questions related to sperm donation, and the ways in which new and different technologies impact today’s reproductive norms.
Prof. Yigal Schwartz, the book’s editor:
“The siblings’ stories are woven together by Sakal’s sensitive yet confident hand, alongside captivating anecdotes from the parents’ Egyptian backgrounds. The power of My Sister stems, in part, from its narrative style. Sakal makes love through his writing: he paints his fictional world in strikingly palpable language which readers can almost reach out and touch; he cradles us in words and leads us after him with enchanting melodies, like the Pied Piper.
Much like Yolanda (2011) and The Diamond Setter (2014), Sakal’s two previous novels, both of which gained popular and critical acclaim, My Sister reflects on immigrants and locals, members of different classes who live in separate neighborhoods, fertility, sexuality and gender, and issues of identity and place. The profound social commentary embodied in the narrative cannot obscure Sakal’s obvious love for his characters and the world they inhabit, and he manages to infect the readers with this love.”
Praise for My Sister (2016):
“…a delightful, smart, occasionally funny family novel. Its language is picturesque and supple, and its content full of love for all its characters… Thought-provoking, fascinating and refreshing…” Haaretz
“…examines the relationship between individual consciousness and family consciousness. This game, which guides the book mischievously and confidently to the peculiarities of knowing and unknowing, is the secret of this too-short novel.” Makor Rishon
“On the surface a family novel in the old familiar psychological realism mold, full of complications and resolutions, but a second or third reading is in many ways like glimpsing the inner workings of a pulsating, moving organism. On the surface it is wide open, but in fact it guards its mysteries.” Israel Hayom