Café Shi­ra by David Ehrlich

Café Shi­ra by David Ehrlich

Translator: Michael Swirsky

New to Jerusalem and to adulthood, Rutha serves Café Shira’s devoted customers with a quiet compassion and a sensitive gaze, collecting their stories and absorbing them at her peril. Avigdor, the melancholy and somewhat weary café owner, philosophizes about love as he attends to the needs of his patrons while ignoring his own. Christian, a young religious pilgrim, has come to Jerusalem to find God but stumbles upon a much different revelation. These characters form the heart of this wry, often poignant novel narrated through a series of vignettes. They are joined by a colorful cast of characters who frequent the literary café—long-married couples, young lovers, an eccentric poet, and a traumatized veteran—all finding refuge and occasionally wisdom among their motley urban community. Closely based on Ehrlich’s own experiences over the twenty-five years he devoted to running a café that became an important Jerusalem cultural venue and landmark, Café Shira is a work of disarming tenderness and bittersweet love.

Year first published: 2022

Read a review on Jewish Book Council

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