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Muck

A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

“Those who lament that the novel has lost its prophecy should pay heed and cover-price: Muck is the future, both of Jerusalem and of literature. God is showing some rare good taste, by choosing to speak to us through Dror Burstein.” —Joshua Cohen, author of Moving Kings and Book of Numbers

In a Jerusalem both ancient and modern, where the First Temple squats over the populace like a Trump casino, where the streets are literally crawling with prophets and heathen helicopters buzz over Old Testament sovereigns, two young poets are about to have their lives turned upside down.

Struggling Jeremiah is worried that he might be wasting his time trying to be a writer; the great critic Broch just beat him over the head with his own computer keyboard. Mattaniah, on the other hand, is a real up-and-comer—but he has a secret he wouldn’t want anyone in the literary world to know: his late father was king of Judah.

Jeremiah begins to despair, and in that despair has a vision: that Jerusalem is doomed, and that Mattaniah will not only be forced to ascend to the throne but will thereafter witness his people slaughtered and exiled. But what does it mean to tell a friend and rival that his future is bleak? What sort of grudges and biases turn true vision into false prophecy? Can the very act of speaking a prediction aloud make it come true? And, if so, does that make you a seer, or just a schmuck?

Dramatizing the eternal dispute between poetry and power, between faith and practicality, between haves and have-nots, Dror Burstein’s Muck is a brilliant and subversive modern-dress retelling of the book of Jeremiah: a comedy with apocalyptic stakes by a star of Israeli fiction.

From Publishers Weekly

Oct 22, 2018 – According to the rabbis, the time of Jewish prophecy ended long ago; Burstein's richly inventive novel challenges this notion by setting the story of prophet Jeremiah in an Israel that is simultaneously then (the reign of the last kings of Judah) and now (the Babylonians have tanks; the Jerusalemites go into exile via light rail). Jeremiah, a failed poet with a dead sister and a vegan mother, doesn't want to prophesy exile and destruction, especially since the last king is his childhood friend and fellow poet, but what can he do? The place is epically corrupt: children are sold like chickens to be slaughtered (in imagery reminiscent of Nazi gas "showers"), everything runs on bribes, people disappear into prisons, and even the architecture is barbaric and garish. It's hard not to read this as a parable for today's Israel and the struggle over Palestine. Near the end, Jeremiah is thrown into a pit: he emerges covered in the titular muck, "Godless, without angels, without prophecy... the pit remained within him." Burstein (Kin) may not be hopeful, but in this long, tangled, and occasionally obscure novel, he has found a way to speak, as prophets and novelists do, of present, past, and future, what was and what might be.
Muck
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  • $13.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Nov 13, 2018
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Seller: Macmillan
  • Print Length: 416 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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