AVIGUR-ROTEM, GABRIELA (1946– ), Israeli novelist. Avigur-Rotem was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and came to Israel in 1950. She studied Hebrew and English literature and worked for several years as a high school teacher. Later she worked as an editor at the Haifa University Publishing House. Following the publication of two poetry collections (1980; Ḥomot ve-Keisarim, 1990), Avigur-Rotem published in 1992 her first novel, Moẓart lo Hayah Yehudi ("Mozart Wasn't a Jew"; Italian, 1997) and was awarded the Peter Schwisert Prize for Young Writers. The novel, which was highly praised by critics and readers alike, is a family saga set against the historical backdrop of early Zionism, Baron Hirsch's support of a Jewish colony in Argentina, and, later, the Spanish Civil War and World War II. Leon Gidekel has to give up his dream of becoming a great singer, transferring his hopes of musical success to his nine children, for each of whom he buys a piano. Avigur-Rotem unfolds an exuberant epic tapestry, displaying a fine touch for nuanced characterization and a sensitive ear for various layers of Hebrew. In 2001, Avigur-Rotem published a second novel, Ḥamsin ve-Ẓipporim Meshuga'ot ("Heatwave and Crazy Birds"; Italian, 2004; French, 2005), the story of Loya Kaplan who at the age of 48 tries to uncover the story of her family. Her journey into the past discloses the fate of her parents during the Holocaust and brings her finally to her elderly mother, who had chosen to return to Czechoslovakia for ideological reasons. Undoubtedly one of the most interesting voices in contemporary Hebrew literature, Avigur-Rotem was twice awarded the Prime Minister's Prize for Literature as well as the President's Prize (2002).
Y. Orian, "Hi Tiheyeh Soferet Gedolah Me'od," in: Yedioth Ahronoth (1992); M. Shaked, "Panim Ḥadashot: Ha-Roman ha-Akhshavi al Toledot Mishpaḥah," in: Itton, 77:153 (1993), 22–27; A. Holtzman, "Me'od Yisraeli," in: Yedioth Ahronoth (May 4, 2001).
[Anat Feinberg (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.