Awards: Jewish Fiction Winner; Oregon Book Finalists

The Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land, a short story collection by Omer Friedlander (Random House), has won the $1,000 Association of Jewish Libraries Jewish Fiction Award.

Two other titles won honor awards:
Atomic Anna by Rachel Barenbaum (Grand Central Publishing)
Thistlefoot by GennaRose Nethercott (Anchor Books)

Organizers called the 11 stories in The Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land "remarkable for their intense originality and for Friedlander's ability to portray the complexity and nuances of political conflict together with a deep understanding of a shared humanity that transcends borders--both geopolitical and metaphorical. In a series of vividly drawn cameos, Friedlander employs multiple literary forms to portray characters, historical events, and social conditions in contemporary Israel: surrealism in 'High Heels,' where a young shoemaker scales cranes on construction sites in urban Tel Aviv; the picaresque in 'Alte Sachen,' about a family of junk collectors in Tsfat; pathos in 'Walking Shiv'ah,' when a mother and daughter trudge miles by foot to find out which of the two sons perished in war; black humor in 'The Sephardi Survivor,' when two boys co-opt a stranger as a stand-in for their school Holocaust survivor project; and the gritty realism of 'Jellyfish in Gaza,' where twin brothers try to cope with the reality and brutality of war and their father's trauma doing army service."


Finalists for the 2023 Oregon Book Awards have been selected. Winners will be announced on April 3. To see the finalists in all seven categories, click here.

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