In her essay “The Materiality and Embodiment of Violence: Ronit Matalon’s Poetics of Responsibility” Shiri Goren discusses Matalon’s novel Bliss (Sarah-Sarah, 2000) as a complex and bleak account of domestic and political decline. On the backdrop of the first Intifada, a Tel Avivian marriage falls apart and a lifelong powerful and intimate friendship between two women ends abruptly. In another geographical location and slightly different timeframe, early November 1995, a French-Jewish family prepares for the cremation of one of its sons, who died of AIDS. Rejecting potential interpretations of national allegory, Goren argues that one of the foundational assumptions of the novel is that the realms of political public trauma and personal calamity are ultimately not far apart. The harsh outcomes of violence become entwined with intimate, personal stories and are expressed in every realm of private and public life. The metaphor of malaise and the physical disintegration of the private and social body in Matalon’s narrative reflect both the internal and external experiences of living in Israel during such troubled times. Matalon’s poetics, Goren suggests, aims at mapping brutality and inquiring into the origin and anatomy of violence both in and beyond the Israeli context.
"The Materiality and Embodiment of Violence: Ronit Matalon’s Poetics of Responsibility."
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