Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Yoram Kaniuk (May 2, 1930 - June 7, 2013)

From Ha'aretz:
"Kaniuk was born in Tel Aviv on May 2, 1930. The list of people associated with his early childhood reads like a who’s who of the early days of Tel Aviv’s cultural life and society. His father, Moshe Kaniuk, was the personal secretary of Tel Aviv’s first mayor, Meir Dizengoff, and became the first curator of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. His godfather was the poet Haim Nahman Bialik; his kindergarten teacher was the wife of pioneer and poet Joseph Haim Brenner; his school doctor was the poet Shaul Tchernichovsky."
Kaniuk wrote 17 novels and participated in many events as notable as the people he knew in his childhood. Also see this from the New Yorker which calls him "one of Israel’s greatest and least celebrated writers, and with each of his seventeen novels and seven short-story collections he died of being neither loved nor read, died the slow and painful death of rejection, poverty, and obscurity."

An editorial in Ha'aretz gives a number of interesting facts about Kaniuk including this:
"Around two years before his death, Kaniuk petitioned a district court demanding that he be 'released from the Jewish religion' and be registered with the Interior Ministry as having no religion, which is exactly how his grandson is registered since the boy's mother is not considered Jewish. In his petition, Kaniuk explained that he didn't want to be part of a 'Jewish Iran.' His struggle was successful and he was registered as having no religion."
The article concludes: "More attention should have been paid to him during his lifetime, and his struggles dare not be forgotten after his death."

I tried to read one of his novels -- must try again!

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