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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful
I read this book a month ago. Last night as I drifted off to sleep, I realised that I was thinking of a place and that it was giving me peace of heart and tranquillity. Suddenly I realised I was thinking of the house that Yair buys with the money his mother gives him. Shalev's prose is beautiful, so beautiful one yearns for a place that does not exist and one wants to go...
Published on 22 April 2008 by Judith Laure Wells

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3.0 out of 5 stars An interest in homeing pigeons and Israel
I enjoyed this book although it tends to go back and forth from the present day to 1948 although dates are not specifically mentioned. It is well written but the subject matter may not be everyone's cup of tea. I thought parts, especially towards the end, were predictable.
Published on 8 Jun. 2010 by Mrs. Joyce Davis


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful, 22 April 2008
This review is from: Pigeon and a Boy (Hardcover)
I read this book a month ago. Last night as I drifted off to sleep, I realised that I was thinking of a place and that it was giving me peace of heart and tranquillity. Suddenly I realised I was thinking of the house that Yair buys with the money his mother gives him. Shalev's prose is beautiful, so beautiful one yearns for a place that does not exist and one wants to go there. Shalev prose is so deep and touching that you treasure the memory and feelings it provokes well after you have turned the last page.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, 7 July 2009
This review is from: A Pigeon and a Boy (Paperback)
This is a very interesting book which works on many levels . It is a beautifully constructed proper story, and almost certainly needs to be read twice, for reasons it would not be fair to reveal in this review ! usually i am not a fan of books which require a fairly large suspension of belief to make the plot work but somehow Shalev more than gets away with it.The translation was so good that I at least did not feel that I was reading it in the wrong language
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4.0 out of 5 stars An very unusual novel, almost deserving a 5* rating, 1 Dec. 2013
By 
Dr R (Norwich, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This is the first of Shalev's novels that I have read. The translation, by Evan Fallenberg, is good throughout although `the seed rising in his pipes' might have been rephrased. The original won the Brenner Prize, Israel's highest literary award, in 2006.

Yair, the narrator, arranges personal itineraries and escorts well-off travellers, especially those interested in birdwatching, to Israel (dressed in safari vests "full of pockets, the kind that tourists and foreign correspondents love to sport while in the Middle East"). He is bored with his job and his marriage to the rich American-born Liora, whom he first met whilst working and who now happens to be his boss - at one stage she appoints him her driver.

His mother, Raya, and father, Yordad ("Call Yordad upstairs for lunch"), Dr Yaacov Mendelsohn, are separated ("He was a paediatrician, four years older than my mother and twenty years more aged than she"). Before his mother dies she gives Yair some money and tells him to "go off and find the only two things you really need, a story and a place of your own". The novel is his answer to her, describing a mysterious pigeon-handler, the Baby, who was involved in the paramilitary Palmach's fight against the British, his girlfriend, Girl, and of Yair's own search for a home, for love and for security. This allows the author to interweave present and past love stories, those of Yair and Tirzah, the girl he loved as a child, and Baby and Girl, a fellow pigeon-handler.

As Baby and Girl live in a kibbutz and in Tel Aviv, respectively, their relationship progresses by the unofficial messages they send one another by pigeon-post. The description of one of the messages that Boy sends is the key point of the novel and, with the exception of his sex/love scenes, the writing is both poetic and vivid. When Yair sees an old, deserted house he knows that it is the one that his mother would have appreciated, whenever she entered her home she would say `Hello house' ("Once again I said `Hello, house', and once again the house answered").

The novel operates on many levels and introduces a range of memorable characters, and not just the homing pigeons. There is Dr Laufer, the chief of the Haganeh homing pigeon network, who spoke Hebrew using the royal `we', feminine form, because "he had grown accustomed to living among pigeons and the Hebrew language refers even to male pigeons in the feminine"), Miriam, his second-in-command ("a silent young woman, the kind whose knee never stops jiggling when she is seated"), Meshulam, Tirzah's father, ("capacious of hand and heart, amusing, emotional and eruptive" ", always carrying a large blue handkerchief to wipe his tears when he recalls his dead son).

Yair and his brother, Benjamin, enjoy a Jacob and Esau relationship, and Shalev sprinkles various biblical allusions into his story, Adam, Eve, Abraham, Isaac and Noah's dove. The intersection of the two stories does not come as a surprise but that is not the main aim of the author. The reader learns a great deal about pigeons, in general, and carrier pigeons, in particular (Belgium has the highest per capita number of homing pigeons). Indeed, when the basket of pigeons that Baby is carrying is damaged and some of the birds die, I felt quite sad which says a great deal about Shalev's writing and also something about me. By the end of the novel the reader should be expert in all aspects of renovation.

Despite the background to the book being serious, Shalev seasons his story with humour (Yair's mother makes no decision without considering the two columns, FOR and AGAINST; conversations between Chinese and Hebrew speakers; the band of old German ornithologists, who "turned up armed with binoculars, cameras, and a telescope, wearing boots, and khaki trousers that reached their knees, and khaki socks that reached those same knees from the opposite direction") and it is both an entertaining read and one that left this reader thinking after the final page. One of the rare references to a non-Jewish population in what was then Palestine relates to an abandoned village.

The relationship between the homing pigeons and Yair's renovating a new home for himself and Tirzah was deftly handled although it did seem rather strange that Liora was so little bothered. In order to purchase his house and land, Yair and Tirzah had to pretend to the village secretariat that they were a married couple. Given that Liora's business, "the Israeli branch of Kirschbaum Real Estate", had such a high profile, that Tirzah was well known as "the contractor who is a woman" and travelled in vehicles plastered with the `Meshulam Fried and Daughter, Inc.' logo and that Israel is not a very large country I thought it unlikely that the secretariat would not have realised the deception.

The past and present stories allowed the author to contrast and compare urban and rural Israel over 60 years. I am not generally convinced by Magical Realism, but Shalev writes beautifully about Boy's soul rising to become a homing pigeon. I would have liked to quote a passage here but it really has to be read within its context (it is on pp237-240, Shalev/Fallenberg deserve a prize for this section alone).

Despite some reservations I will seek out other books by this author but, on the evidence of the rather cringe-making `love scenes' in this book, I hope that the sex will be rationed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars of the love of pigeons, boys and Israel., 28 April 2011
By 
Adam Frankenberg "Kol adam" (Manchester UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Pigeon and a Boy (Paperback)
This book is remarkable in many ways, Meir Shalev is one of Israel's most improtant novelest and this story does not disappoint. It fucntions on a number of levels but on the most straight forward it is simply a great story or rather two great stories woven together. One is set in contemporary (or near contemporary Israel) and the other in the period of the Yeshuv (pre-state Jewish community) and the war of 1948. AS the book proceeds these two stories draw more and more together. I found that each story was gripping and i felt for each for the characters. The translation has been beatifully undertaken by Evan Fallenberg. It is written like modern day fable with a dreamlike prose. It is one of those books that stays with the reader after (maybe long after) the it has been finished. I would, in quite moments, find myself thinking about images and scenes from the novel. At the moment i am studying in Israel and another theme of this novel that stands out, is the differnce between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The geography of Jerusalem and the rest of the country plays an improtant role in this novel. I highly recommend it. As might be guessed a central metaphor of the story is messenger pigeons, I know nothing about pigeons and this did not stop me enjoying reading it. I highly recommend reading this novel it will stay with the you and is well worth the efford involved.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A slow, soaring read, 1 Dec. 2007
By 
Jenni Tsafrir "bibliomanic" (Petah Tikva, Israel) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pigeon and a Boy (Hardcover)
This is the kind of book you want to read slowly, savour every word, and long for it not to finish. Meir Shalev's beautifully crafted book, with its flowing, evocative language, masterfully translated by Evan Fallenberg, consists of two interwoven tales of people a generation apart, linked by places and events. One is a first person narrative of an adult tour-guide yearning for affection and a place he can consider 'home', and the other a touching story of the love between two teenagers, whose main channel of communication is through the homing-pigeons they send back and forth for the Hagana, the underground movement struggling against British rule in pre-State Israel. Through the intertwined tales, artfully tied up in the final denouement, the reader subtly gains insight into the handling of homing-pigeons and the tense days leading up to the War of Independence. The slight suspension of credibility called for here and there in the book only serve to enrich the sensitive flow of a wonderful story. Don't pass it by!
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3.0 out of 5 stars An interest in homeing pigeons and Israel, 8 Jun. 2010
By 
Mrs. Joyce Davis "avid reader" (London, U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Pigeon and a Boy (Paperback)
I enjoyed this book although it tends to go back and forth from the present day to 1948 although dates are not specifically mentioned. It is well written but the subject matter may not be everyone's cup of tea. I thought parts, especially towards the end, were predictable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic book, 23 Jan. 2013
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I was not sure if I will enjoy reading this book in English - however the transelation from Hebrew is great and the book is extremely captivating.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great, 18 April 2013
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This review is from: A Pigeon and a Boy (Paperback)
this book is well written and interesting. The charactors feel real and it has a moving ending. I enjoyed this book
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A Pigeon and a Boy by Meir Shalev (Paperback - 1 Feb. 2009)
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