Accidents A Novel

Yael Hedaya




Trade Paperback

464 Pages



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For Shira Klein, Yonatan Luria, and his daughter, Dana, it is winter—winter at work, winter among friends, winter at home, and winter of the heart. Yonatan is a marginal writer, a widower in his forties left to raise his child alone. When he meets Shira, a bestselling author paralyzed by her success, the thaw begins as man, woman, and girl enter a halting romance, alternately tender and belligerent, generous and withdrawn.

To the accompaniment of a full chorus of voices—of friends, neighbors, ex-lovers, parents—speaking from the past as well as the present, this family in the making gropes its way toward the comfort of love while navigating through ordinary pains: a dying father, angry children, wounding moments, and a distressing difference in the writers' levels of success, which they wish would vanish even as it grows. 

Accidents follows its characters through fragility, vulnerability, and joy, accruing the small events of unremarkable days to produce a grand vision of the shared life. Rarely has the fictional world of family been plumbed with such knowingness, humor, and love.


Praise for Accidents

"When you read a book like Yael Hedaya's Accidents—a fine-grained, tragicomic, and always gripping portrait of adult love in the making—you wonder why so few such books are produced, and why they are not more fanfared . . . this book is, in every sense, the real deal."—The Atlantic
"[A] rewarding novel . . . utterly realistic and charming . . . Hedaya does an expert job of detailing these two self-conscious cynics' early courtship."—The Forward
"An intimate portrait of a family under construction . . . Hedaya is able to bring an impressive multidimensionality to her characters as they alternately care for a dying father, seek the approval of the cool group, and grapple with differing levels of success in their work. The novel was a critical and popular success in Israel and should find an appreciative audience among literary fiction readers in this country, especially those familiar with the work of Israeli authors David Grossman and Amos Oz."—Barbara Bibel, Booklist
"In this introspective debut novel, popular Israeli author Hedaya delves into a complicated set of personal relations. Dana, a precocious ten-year-old, and her father, Yonaton, are still trying to overcome the grievous loss of Dana's mother, Ilana, in an auto accident. Yonaton is trying to get back to penning his novel but is facing writer's block big time, his past success of no help now. As the plot builds, Hedaya explores the minutiae of daily life—e.g., Dana's girlhood uncertainties and Yonaton's efforts to make a life as a single father. Shira, a writer with her own set of doubts, enters the picture, embarking on a relationship with Yonaton as neighbors, friends, past lovers, and childhood memories combine in a chorus to bring the three characters together. Readers will appreciate the depiction of the interior lives of writers as well as the skillful portrayal of delicate family dynamics. Presented in a fine translation, this work is highly recommended."—Molly Abramowitz, Library Journal
"Though the three novellas of Hedaya's Housebroken are funny and accomplished, they do not prepare one for the depth of her new novel, a slow-motion Tel Aviv love story, in which a new couple finds their relationship haunted by past affairs. Yonatan Luria is a famous, 50-ish writer whose novels are less successful each time out, and he has only begun to try to work again, two years after his wife's death; first time novelist Shira Klein is so surprised by the success of her book that she calls upon her boring ex, who sustained her while she wrote it, to see if he's still available. Hedaya expertly details Yonatan's and Shira's varying and more or less depressing circumstances until they meet at a dinner party, and the usual skittish evasions of courtship and early dating ensue. Hedaya has an unerring sense of the fear involved in attempting intimacy, and her book contains one of the best descriptions of bad sex with the wrong person (in an attempt to avoid the right person) ever. By the end, hope reigns for this accidental family-in-the-making."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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Yael Hedaya is a journalist and humor columnist for the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot, and the Tel Aviv weekly magazine Halr. She currently teaches creative writing at Tel Aviv University. Accidents, her first novel, was a bestseller in Israel and will be published in four languages. She lives in Tel Aviv, Israel.
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  • Yael Hedaya

  • A journalist and humor columnist for the Hebrew daily Yediot Aharonot, Yael Hedaya teaches journalism and creative writing at Tel Aviv University. Accidents, her first novel, was a bestseller in Israel and will be published in four languages.
  • Yael Hedaya Orna-Itamar