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Dolly City
Cover of Dolly City
Dolly City
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"Dolly City—a city without a base, without a past, without an infrastructure. The most demented city in the world." In the midst of a futuristic-primitive metropolis, the accumulation of all our urban nightmares, Doctor Dolly (certified by the University of Katmandu) finds a newborn baby in a black plastic bag, and decides to become a mother. Overcome by unfamiliar maternal urges, Dolly dispenses with her private lab of rare diseases and turns all her surgical passion onto her son. Ceaselessly cutting and sewing, Dolly is the scalpel-wielding version of the all-too-familiar Jewish Mother archetype, forever operating upon her son with destructive, invasive love. In this grotesque satire of war and the defensive measures taken to survive it, Orly Castel-Bloom, one of Israel's most provocative and original writers, turns her own scalpel upon that most holy of institutions, the myth of motherhood—and its implications in the life of a nation.

"Dolly City—a city without a base, without a past, without an infrastructure. The most demented city in the world." In the midst of a futuristic-primitive metropolis, the accumulation of all our urban nightmares, Doctor Dolly (certified by the University of Katmandu) finds a newborn baby in a black plastic bag, and decides to become a mother. Overcome by unfamiliar maternal urges, Dolly dispenses with her private lab of rare diseases and turns all her surgical passion onto her son. Ceaselessly cutting and sewing, Dolly is the scalpel-wielding version of the all-too-familiar Jewish Mother archetype, forever operating upon her son with destructive, invasive love. In this grotesque satire of war and the defensive measures taken to survive it, Orly Castel-Bloom, one of Israel's most provocative and original writers, turns her own scalpel upon that most holy of institutions, the myth of motherhood—and its implications in the life of a nation.

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  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 2, 2010
    This strange and searing novel (after Human Parts) follows the exploits of Doctor Dolly as she traverses a nightmarish Tel Aviv–like metropolis known as Dolly City. Her University of Katmandu medical training not recognized in Israel, Dolly is unable to legally practice medicine and instead experiments in her home lab on animals she infects with diseases of her own invention. But when Dolly finds an abandoned baby wrapped in a plastic bag, her maternal urges are unexpectedly awakened, and as she grows more and more obsessed with her son—whom she names Son—she succumbs to a madness manifesting itself as fanatical concern with Son's health and the conviction that cancer is everywhere. Dolly's agitated mind increasingly parallels the deterioration of Dolly City, "the most demented city in the world," besieged by "Arabophobia" from within and French air raids from without. This parable about motherhood, nationhood, and the intersection of the two is never less than gripping, though its insistence on the graphic depiction of life in a war zone—whether private or public—sometimes makes it tempting to look away.

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    Columbia University Press
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Dolly City
Orly Castel-Bloom
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