From Foe to Friends & Other Stories (S.Y. Agnon): A Graphic Novel by Shay Charka
A new English language edition of last year’s very popular Hebrew book the first time Hebrew literature’s only Nobel laureate has had his stories rendered in graphic form. These three tales (which retain Agnon’s original prose) rendered in comics form, are among the most beloved by Israeli children now available to the English reading world in a most engaging format. The title story, an allegory about the attempt to settle the Land of Israel in old Jerusalem and to tame its wild winds, is followed by a mystical fantasy about a delightful goat and a magical cave connecting the old world of Polish Jewry to the new world of Jewish life in the Holy Land. The volume closes with a fable of The Architect and the Emperor raising questions about the relationship between an artist and his work. Drawn in a brilliant style, Charka’s illustrations are themselves a form of midrash on Agnon’s prose. The keen reader will find visual echoes of Marc Chagall and Edvard Munch, alongside Bob Dylan and Rav Kook.