Book Review: Petty Business by Yirmi Pinkus

Posted on February 7, 2018


“Petty Business, the second of Yirmi Pinkus’ five novels and the first to be published in English, satirically portrays the life of a family of Tel Aviv store owners with both fondness and humor over one year—1989, a time in which neighborhood mom and pop stores were being put out of business by larger chain and department stores, just as the latter are now under pressure from Internet vendors.

“… The novel’s title in the original Hebrew edition is the Aramaic phrase Bi’zer Anpin, which means ‘on a small scale, in miniature,’ and this family and their enterprises are a microcosm of a lower-middle class retail subculture at the end of an era.

“Overseas Pinkus is better known as cartoonist, and his book cover illustration of bathers in the waterpark swimming pool provides a preview of his satirical take on that subculture whose narrative portrait is also poignant. Pinkus’ mastery of language is every bit equal to that of his visual medium, and translators Evan Fallenberg and Yardena Greenspan do a fine job of conveying his varied prose into English.” — from my review of Petty Business by Yirmi Pinkus in New York Journal of Books


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