Tsur Shezaf

Witchcraft in Huncabmba

Witchcraft in Huancabmba

On “Witchcraft in Huancabamba”

By Yoram Bronowski, “Art and Culture,” Ha’aretz

Tsur Shezaf succeeds admirably with the main aim of the travel writer
(or writer-traveler) of the new and sophisticated sort: to present to
the reader the beauty and the variety in the world. “Everything was so
wonderful,” he writes in a fine essay on Lamu in Africa, on the edge of
Kenya. “Most of the cities as well as the places that are called
wonderful become poetic beads in an endless chain of names.” It is
somewhat in this vein that this varied and colorful book, which does not
lack for a particularly original Israeli “sabra” tone. It seems that
Tsur Shezaf is the young classicist of this new travel writing. In many
respects, he is our very own Bruce Chatwin.


By Eli Hirsh, Ma’ariv Culture Supplement

Luckily, Shezaf has a tendency to get in trouble in a special way during
the course of his most difficult and dangerous journeys, and when this
happens, he concentrates on a single task – to reach, somehow, the end
of the road. He cannot sink into deep thought or rely on his emotions.
Everything is subsumed in the need to listen, absorb, notice and preempt
any danger the road may pose him. On journeys of this sort, not only are
his eyes wide open and his senses alert, his writing also becomes sharp
and concentrated. The road itself spreads before us, as well as the
thrilling terror of the breadth of the journey. In Mongolia itself, the
story becomes completely mad. Accompanied by Mirge, Urey, their family
and their friends, Shezaf is forced to be constantly on the alert. At
every step he must find the golden mean between cautiously following the
generous suggestions of his hosts, and their obstinacy and hostility
that become less and less pleasant from moment to moment. Though the
story is wild, it is utterly believable: Shezaf sets it forth with
restrained minimalism and remarkable precision. Through his eyes, the
reader comes to know an exotic, hostile and complex world that is also
clear and very sensual, where every decision, even moral decisions, must
be instinctive. Shezaf is an excellent travel writer and “Witchcraft in
Huancabamba” is a step in the right direction.

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