Author David Grossman and translator Jessica Cohen
David Grossman and his translator Jessica Cohen took the prize with a novel about a stand-up comic unravelling on stage – savage humour and excoriating pain proving to be mirror images.
The much-lauded Israeli novelist Grossman is a sometimes controversial figure in his homeland for his peace activism and criticism of his country’s attitude towards the Palestinians. Some of the opposing forces in Israeli society are captured in the person of Dovaleh Greenstein, his fictional stand-up comedian, whose two-hour set gives the novel its narrative arc. Jessica Cohen, Grossman’s regular translator, caused a stir when she announced she would donate half her prize winnings to a human rights group documenting Israeli actions on the West Bank.