Meet Evan Fallenberg, an American ex-pat living in Israel, who is now becoming discovered on the world Jewish literary scene. Fallenberg, formerly of Cleveland Ohio, has been living in Israel for some years now, and resides in a small suburban community outside the coastal city of Netanya.
A translator by profession, Evan began to make a name for himself by writing superb English translations for Israeli authors who produced literary works only in Hebrew. One such work, entitled A Pigeon and a Boy, by writer Meir Shalev, won the 2007 Jewish National Book Council Award in the U.S.A. for outstanding Jewish fiction. Evan competed his first novel, entitled Light Fell, which was published by Soho Press in January, 2008. Even though the book has just been released, it has already received excellent reviews by such periodicals as Haaretz, The Miami Herald, The Forward, San Francisco Chronicle, and his home town’s Jewish newspaper: The Cleveland Jewish News. He has also been interviewed by La Bloga, one of Latin America’s most popular web blogs.
I had the opportunity to attend a literary group meeting in Tel Aviv recently, and Evan Fallenberg was the guest speaker. He read some excerpts from his novel which is based on a very intimate relationship between two deeply religious men who left their wives and a total of nine children in order to be together. Although this kind of topic is not fully acceptable by many, especially those in the Orthodox Jewish Community in Israel and elsewhere, the sensitivity and poetic manner in which Evan describes the love these two men have for each other, is even more poignant and touching that the recent Academy Award winning film Brokeback Mountain. So well received is this novel, despite its relatively short “exposure” time on the book market, that the word is out that it may be even in the process of being considered for either a film or television miniseries.
Since many of us attending the meeting are aspiring authors, Evan’s advice concerning having works published was taken in enthusiastically by all in attendance. One bit of advice that I picked up on was that in order to have a literary or commercial work published, the writer must first be sure that the book is “ready for publishing”. This includes having others read the finished manuscript and give their opinions on it. Also, it is important that the author feels that the book is really superb, as how can one expect to have a work published if not liked by the one who wrote it?
Light Fell is definitely only the beginning for this very personable guy who appears to have a bright future in the literary world. In addition to his translating and work and novel writing (he is well into writing his next novel already) Evan conducts literary workshops and writing retreats for aspiring authors.