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Read about the Postcap project and how it came into being, on The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute website >>

Hamelet (The Cement)



Year 2066. Following a string of ecological disasters on the one hand, and technological acceleration that obviates much of human labor and heralds and era of material prosperity on the other, the Middle East, like other parts of the world, reorganizes politically, socially and economically. Jordan Banks, the territory including Israel, Palestine, Jordan and parts of Lebanon and Syria is an autonomic district subject to the MidEastUnion (MEU) council. Every resident in MEU is entitled to a universal salary and public housing in return to hours served in public interest.

            Ami Elalouf works for his father’s construction firm, established in Dimona. When his father was young, he discovered a unique cement mix, the Yabni el-Juba (“Magic Cement”), which enables a quick and proficient building. Thanks to him, and thank to the timing of the discovery, shortly before the establishment of the MEU, the family-owned firm flourished, and its services are in demand across the union. One sweltering summer day Ami is called urgently to Dimona. His father has fallen ill, and already inheritance intrigues are sizzling from the likes of Ami’s mother and his uncle Dekel. Ami is getting more and more convinced that he knows who is to blame for his father’s illness, and is deliberating how he should behave, what is his duty as a son, and his duty as a citizen in the new culture, where sharing and the greater good are supreme values.

            The novella Hamelet (The Cement) as hinted by its title, is an updated and exhilarating version of the famous quandary and revenge Shakespearean play, and Gavron uses it in order to ponder on human nature: to what extent can a society trying to suppress avarice and wealth, prevent the expressions of fundamental human characteristics, like greed and competitiveness? And if they are expressed, do they have a new configuration?

Hamelet (The Cement) is one of four novellas in “Postcap”, a postcapitalist literary endeavor born in a research group in the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem. The four novellas share the same backdrop, created by the four writers in the group.


Gavron is the most natural storyteller... He proved in the past, with his debut "Ice" and with "Hydromania", how well he can write an apocalypse. With Hamelet he plants the most renowned play in the history of literature and theater, Shakespeare's Hamlet, in the postcapitalist world the author created. And he does so superbly.
Ran Yagil, Calcalist

We know the cliché, "We can imagine the end of the world but we can't imagine the end of Capitalism". Now we can. Hamelet draws the roadmap to how it could be achieved, speculative fiction that is almost utopic... Gavron lays us in a reality where there is universal income to all, public housing is great, property is handed almost equally. To this he adds a difficult climate situation, a union of states in the Middle East, and Shakespeare's Hamlet. You have to read it to understand how he pulls it off - the fusion of a thing within a thing within a thing... An interesting experience, reading an un-depressing option for the future.

Niv Hadas and Gili Izikovich, Sunday Culture Podcast, Ha'aretz

A futuristic real-estate Middle-Eastern take-off on Shakespeare's Danish prince... We discover a future in which being a pig is not compulsory. The Millennials in the decades ahead hold on to the past, but the next generations are not as greedy. On the other hand, it is evident that work is necessary, and without it people lose hold, and can't deal with what is termed "The Cursed Leisure".

Sharon Kantor, 7 Nights, Yedioth Achronot

Lightweight, sophisticated and cool… Gavron has fun with the eternal Shakespearean classic, as part of the Van Leer Institute’s intriguing literary venture, “Postcap”… A kind of a futuristic thriller, wonderfully fun and full of neat innovations, ranging from the technological to the social and political and making us think what if, and is there really is a chance that this kind of new utopic Middle East can rise from the current swamp we’re in… Gavron manages to maneuver well between fiery anti-capitalist speeches and a tight, flowing plot. A very enjoyable read that is also thought provoking… From “moving” to “Hamelet”, Gavron is indeed one of our worthwhile, funky authors.

Ran Binoon, Ivrit and Yedioth Achronot

A cutting edge, contemporary work that fulfills the potential of successful futuristic literature. An impressive attempt to deal with the real lives of people in a postcapitalist reality. Hamelet deals primarily with the difficulty of finding meaning in a future life in which one does not need to work. This successful challenge of imagining this future helps us understand the reality we live in, how it might develop, and what in we would like to preserve. This is a worthy step in this direction.

Yuval Simantov, Hashiloach

A pleasing initiative - rarely do writers' imagination receive such appreciation... The vision is optimistic, rousing and peaceful, but the books do not feature the heroes of the post-capitalist revolution, rather those who were left on the outskirts to battle its huge consequences... Hamelet is a homage to Hamlet. Can this successful jest carry  154 pages on its back? All in all, it can. The story is intriguing and the plot full of impetus... Gavron delivers the book's bottom line, or his opinion on the relation between capitalism and the human character, directly: "Postcap didn't erase urges like competitiveness or revenge, which are deeply inherent in the human genome. It simply moved them from issues of money to issues like power, honor and control."
Tslil Avraham, Haaretz

Gavron uses Shakespeare's Hamlet in two ways: the first as a play dealing with human greed and the tragedies it coulld lead to: is the new world really new, considering human nature has not changed all that much? The second level deals with Hamlet's eternal question, "To Be or Not To Be": a world without effort and deprivation may seem utopian, but can have no meaning... The motifs Gavron tackles are interesting and beautifully portrayed... And the solution eventually found for Ami-Hamlet is very pleasing conceptually.
Eyal Hayut-Mann, Speculation

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