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This report is taken from PN Review 151, Volume 29 Number 5, May - June 2003.

A Copper Gazelle Marius Kociejowski

This morning I introduced Gabriel Levin to Adam Thorpe. Gabriel, who is not as well known as he ought to be, is a poet and the translator of the recently published poems from the diwan of the mediaeval Andalusian Hebrew poet, Yehuda Halevi. Adam is author of one of the best opening lines of any novel in recent literature: `The incident with the gorilla remained with my mother for the rest of her life, as certain tiny wounds do on the face.' One might wish the novel stopped there, upon this most sublime of notes, but then I would urge the reader to discover why it was the gorilla made such a vivid impression. Pieces of Light is, I think, his masterpiece: I speak out of nowhere other than my own prejudices - the book, although widely read, has yet to be discovered. If the rumours I create are at all true, then I am its most perspicacious reader. The meeting was a fortuitous one, not just between a man of letters and a man of letters but also, in some parallel literary universe where all the men and beasts one encounters in books finally reside, between gorilla and gazelle. A gazelle runs all the way through the pages of Halevi's diwan and into his most recent translator's house in Jerusalem.

We sat in the brilliant May sunshine, in the massive courtyard of Somerset House, which is the closest the English come to a particular form of ...


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