Omer can count on collection of stories

OMER Friedlander colourfully describes life in Israel, past and present, in The Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land (John Murray Press, £14.99), a collection of short stories published yesterday.

Formed of 11 stories widely ranging in setting, tone, time period and narrator, the book’s tales are tied together by their connection to Israel.

But for 27-year-old Omer, a published book was never actually in his sights.

“It wasn’t planned because I just started writing stories and I think eventually I realised I was preoccupied with writing similar tales, all set in Israel,” he told me from his family home in Tel Aviv.

“It dawned on me that even though these stories were not interconnected in any way, they had a really strong sense of place, so I thought maybe they could go together in a collection.

“It was only when I was at Boston University, however, where I wrote two or three of them, and my teacher Sigrid Nunez read some of the short stories, and said ‘you have a collection here’. That was really encouraging for me.

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