The relationship between a critic and a living writer, these "opposite shareholders" of the same art, can lead to scenarios of all sorts. In her introduction to A Glance beyond Doubt: Narration, Representation, Subjectivity, Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan states that she “endeavor(s) to theorize through literature, to use the novels as, in some sense, the source of theory,” and that this process “can be seen as a fruitful dialogue or interaction between literature and theory.” My long friendship with Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan was indeed such a privileged, on-going interaction.
In the core of our multi-layered relationship lies the shared belief in narrative structures as an unveiling of consciousness and as a powerful means of its shaping. The tumultuous Israeli reality, the loaded Jewish legacy, and not least the changing circumstances of life and disease all kept challenging our notion of narrative. In the intimacy of our “laboratory” I would bring my novels and my writing-dialogue with literary genres, with sacred texts, or with CNN snapshots, and she would be the ideal performative reader. At the same time, Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan’s deep theoretical considerations culminating in her revelatory exposure of illness narratives were for me a constant source of artistic inspiration, and a stirring reminder of the responsibility of narratives as an access to a changing self and world.