One need not know Hebrew to get a sense of how revolutionary Dolly City is. The prose pummels the reader. Dolly, by turns apathetic and enraged, is articulate and perhaps overly perceptive. “Madness is a predator,” she observes. “Its food is the soul. It takes over the soul as rapidly as our forces occupied Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip in 1967. [. . .] And if a state like the State of Israel can’t control the Arabs in the territories, how can anybody expect me, a private individual, to control the occupied territories inside myself?” (95–96). She explicitly relates the chaos within her to the political mayhem that plagues her environment. Violence reigns in her city. And a strange city it is: dystopic, fantastic, phantasmagoric, nightmarish—Dolly City is unlike any other setting in Hebrew literature. At once Tel Aviv and every other city in the world, Dolly City recalls the alienating metropolis that is by now a familiar setting of modernist writing, at the same time adding terrifying new features to this landscape.
more from Karen Grumberg at Context here.