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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction / memoir



Curriculum Vitae

by
Yoel Hoffmann


general information | review summaries | our review | links | about the author

To purchase Curriculum Vitae



Title: Curriculum Vitae
Author: Yoel Hoffmann
Genre: Non/fiction
Written: 2007 (Eng. 2009)
Length: 128 pages
Original in: Hebrew
Availability: Curriculum Vitae - US
Curriculum Vitae - UK
Curriculum Vitae - Canada
  • Hebrew title: Curriculum Vitae
  • Translated by Peter Cole
  • With numerous line-drawings by the author

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Our Assessment:

B+ : odd but appealing

See our review for fuller assessment.




Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Rev. of Contemp. Fiction . Fall/2009 Michael Pinker


  From the Reviews:
  • "Curriculum Vitae elevates Yoel Hoffmann’s penchant for mingling real and invented life to a new pitch, absorbing his entire life story into what masquerades as a novel. The seemingly random nature of his observations, oscillating over time and space, roughly parallels his personal chronology, sorting the events and feelings of his peripatetic career into brief, numbered segments, with which he toys and sometimes playfully disavows" - Michael Pinker, Review of Contemporary Fiction

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Curriculum Vitae is a life-account -- of sorts. In 100 pieces and a number of line-drawing illustrations by the author, Hoffmann conveys impressions and stations of his life, as well as odd thoughts and observations (which are, in fact, often truly quite odd). This is far from straightforward autobiography, and yet it gives good insight into the author. Part of the book deals with his family's stay in Japan and his fascination with Japanese culture and language, and the zen-cultural influence is also reflected in the small bits of writing (and drawing).
       The author is at the center of much of the book, as 'I' or 'we' (or: "We (which is to say I)"), but there are also spots where Hoffmann admits:

     The little girl Sivan was there, and also Yoel Hoffmann, who eludes me continuously and whose nature is hard to grasp.
       He describes what he is attempting well:
     A man looks at his life in the way one watches a silent movie. The mouth opens but nothing is heard .
     The movements are jumpy, here and there, because the memory film is interrupted by leaps, like quanta in physics.
       Among the most appealing parts are the more general observations:
It's all so self-evident why Joyce wrote, for some twenty years, a book without any real words in it. After all, one could die from clear-cut borders between one word and another: Pot. Skyscraper. File. Scandal. Dentures. Scabies. Snow. Old age. Flute. Cobalt. Socialism.
       He deals with family matters, his own childhood, as well as his work and, for example, the lasting influence of the Holocaust on him:
In memory of the people in the crematorium, we too are naked. Every time we take off our clothes our bodies are consecrated in their memory, like the parchment in the mezuzah.
     Likewise the books we've written are dedicated to them. One explicitly. One allusively. And the others secretly. There isn't a single page from which the smoke does not ascend.
       The writing, like the drawings, has a delicate, light touch, and there is little embellishment, yet much of this is quite powerful
       An interesting work.

- M.A.Orthofer, 1 July 2009

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Links:

Curriculum Vitae: Reviews: Yoel Hoffmann:
  • Yoel Hoffmann at the Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature
Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Israeli author Yoel Hoffmann (יואל הופמן) was born in Romania in 1937.

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© 2009 the complete review

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