Husband and Wife, Paperback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Na'ama Newman wakes up one morning to a new reality.

Her husband Udi, formerly a healthy, active tour guide, announces that he can no longer move his legs.

The paralysis is diagnosed as psychosomatic - Udi has gone on strike and Na'ama must cope with the crisis, while balancing the demands of work and motherhood.

The plot moves swiftly from this starting point, and Shalev depicts the complexities of intimate relationships with daring perceptiveness.

It is a unique and intense novel, compulsively readable and extraordinarily insightful.

Husband and Wife brilliantly captures the vulnerability and deceptive comforts of lives intertwined, as well as the near impossibility of setting out to disentangle them without any casualties.

With this novel, Zeruya Shalev is sure to gain the renown in the UK that she already enjoys around the world.




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What is the essence of a marriage? Or of parenthood? In this beautiful novel, Na’ama Newman expresses what it feels like to sense the impending dissolution of one’s own marriage. As a manifestation of marital difficulties, Na’ama’s husband Udi experiences paralysis which is diagnosed as “conversion” or physical symptoms with a psychological basis. In desperate attempts to avoid psychiatric care for Udi, the couple first takes a short trip and later invites Zohara, a Tibetan spiritual guide, to work her craft on them. The solutions, it turns out, cause as much harm as they do good. Complicating matters, their having a 10-year-old daughter who is ostracized by her peers is an additional stress for the couple. Na’ama, always the controller, sabotages any effort on Udi’s part to become closer to his daughter. Although the writing is lyrical and flowing, the sentences run on and on in a style which may not be to everyone’s liking. The narrative is written this way purposely to fuel the reader’s imagination with Na’ama’s innermost thoughts and concerns. What evolves from this is a detailed story of how one woman learns to be true to herself and discover her role in relation to the other important people in her life.

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