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Monday, 3 April 2017

A Tale of Creative Accounting!

MICHAL HARTSTEINThe idea of separating semantic and episodic memory was devised as recently as the early 1970s.

Now the concept has been used most adroitly by Israeli novelist, Michal Hartstein in her third novel, Déjà Vu **.

Hartstein, who hails from a modern Orthodox Jewish background, is a gifted accountant who tossed aside potential career prospects in favour of writing as a source of comfort after experiencing difficulty in conception and pregnancy.

No wonder she views her books as her offspring. Still less startling is the psychology behind this story where, I venture, the notion of ‘déjà vu (a feeling of having previously experienced a situation) replaces the double entry system of accounting, in which a company’s transactions involve two accounts or more!

While the story makes absorbing ‘chick-cum-mummy- lit’ beach reading, it is spoilt by being handled by too many people and their rough stitching sometimes stretches the fabric of the story too thin.

Despite, or perhaps because of input from Yuval Gilad (editor), Julie Phelps (editor), Kristie Stramaski (editor) and Michal Fridman (translator) there are occasional embarrassing errors like the description of Jewish brides walking ‘to the altar’ instead of under the wedding canopy when they are married.

DEJA VUFurther,  the sickly, simpering front cover image does nothing to tell the story.

Last, while I champion a fellow writer – and a remarkably successful one like Hartstein - I must ask how she may describe herself as a winner (with accompanying judges’ praise) of   the Israeli version  of  the  annual National Novel Writing Month contest.

I checked and doubled checked the guidelines and I am sure there are no ‘winners’ or indeed ‘judges’ as stated on the rear cover of her book.

The idea, as I’ve always understood it,  is for entrants to beat the clock by completing the first 50,000-word draft of a novel from November 1 – 30 in any year. This feat is achieved by thousands of aspiring writers worldwide and I take my hat off to them.

** Deja Vu is available from Amazon on Kindle @ $3.99  and in paperback @ $9.99.

© Natalie Wood (03 April 2017)

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