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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

Love Burns

Edna Mazya

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To purchase Love Burns

Title: Love Burns
Author: Edna Mazya
Genre: Novel
Written: 1997 (Eng. 2005)
Length: 220 pages
Original in: Hebrew
Availability: Love Burns - US
Love Burns - UK
Love Burns - Canada
Schlamassel - Deutschland
  • Translated by Dalya Bilu

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Our Assessment:

B : fairly enjoyable if too self-focussed murder-mess

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Neue Zürcher Zeitung . 29/12/2001 Stefana Sabin

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The complete review's Review:

       Love Burns is narrated by Ilan Ben Nathan, a professor at the Technion who is in his late forties. He is married to the beautiful Naomi, who isn't much more than half his age, but love doesn't quite conquer all and his life is sputtering along at the moment: he can't seem to get around to finishing editing some conference proceedings (as he had committed himself to doing), there's this student who is looking for more attention than he wants to give her, and he does like popping those Valiums. He only has one real friend, Anton, but Anton works in the Criminal Investigations Department .....
       Ilan's life goes into a serious tail-spin when he discovers Naomi is cheating on him. Not one for straightforward confrontation, Ilan isn't quite sure how to tackle the situation -- making, for a while, for an entertaining dance as Naomi isn't aware that Ilan is onto her. Eventually (and out of character) it does come to a confrontation -- and to murder. And at first it looks like Ilan might get away with it, as there appears to be nothing directly connecting him with the man. If only he can dispose of the body .....
       Ilan's journey to dispose of the body is an amusing mini-quest, one of the more entertaining sections of the novel. Thank god -- then and (especially) later -- for mom !
       Murder, of course, proves more complicated than originally anticipated, and complications abound. Ilan's feelings of guilt don't help matters -- and neither does Naomi's continued curiosity about her suddenly-disappeared lover. Ilan can't just move on -- leading to another comic highlight, as he is responsible for another death -- and he's plagued by the slightly loose ends that seem to be all over the place. Naturally, Anton also gets involved .....
       The chapters are presented as unbroken paragraphs, a free-flowing narrative just short of stream of consciousness. It's an effective way to present parts of the novel, especially in getting into the mind of the hapless murderer, but it also makes for heavy going in part -- and the lightening humorous touch isn't applied strongly or consistently enough. Mazya has some fine set pieces, but there's also a lot of introspective yammering going on, and the too-often feverish or drug-addled Ilan can get to be quite irritating.
       The basic plot elements of Love Burns are a fun idea, and Mazya presents it fairly well. There's a nice set of characters, and Mazya does show the occasional very good comic touch -- as when Ilan brings the corpse over to his mother's and she talks him out of confessing to Anton:

I can tell you what Anton's mother would do if Anton brought her a corpse, Anton's mother would eat it, because that would be the only way she could be sure that it would never be found, that's what Anton's mother would do for him.
       (She, however, is not willing to go to that particular extreme -- but certainly does her best to help him out.)
       Entertaining enough, if not entirely a success.

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Love Burns: Edna Mazya:
  • Edna Mazya at Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature
Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Israeli author and playwright Edna Mazya was born in 1949.

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