Keys to the Garden: New Israeli Writing
Editor: Ammiel Alcalay
Publisher: City Lights (1996)
This first anthology of twentieth-century Israeli literature to feature the work of writers who were born in—or whose families originated from—the Levant, Turkey, Iran, India and Arab worlds represents twenty-four authors whose concerns with cultural identity, race, class, gender and political allegiances place their work alongside today's emerging rediscovered and reinvented Arab, African, Indian, African-American and Caribbean traditions.
"This brilliant collection makes the emphatic point that translation is of necessity political and gives us ample evidence of those who have been thus silenced. Our imagination of the Middle East and its peoples must alter, reading these completely moving texts by so many diverse writers of consummate authority. Ammiel Alcalay has done us all a great service."
"We need this book! The soil is so deeply mixed, the stories and voices redolent with shared fragrances and new seedlings. Anyone who imagines Jews and Arabs to be strictly oppositional needs to explore the rich twining of roots offered here, and consider how this cross-pollination may hold the hope for the whole region. Ammiel Alcalay is a fine, wise gardener."
–Naomi Shihab Nye
"'A Jew writing in Arabic is not read in Israel...' So writes Samir Naqqash. Ammiel Alcalay's remarkable selection of texts is a plea on behalf of Israeli imaginations in spiritual exile. One is driven to meditate on the genius of truth in every re-visionary monument of home."