By Anat Rosenberg
Updated August 09, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

Israeli author A.B. Yehoshua uses the morbid aftermath of a terrorist attack as the starting point for his novel, whose heroine dies in a suicide bombing and is left unclaimed at a morgue. When a newspaper report accuses her employers of ”gross negligence and inhumanity,” a reluctant HR manager is dispatched to identify the victim and restore the company’s good name. As the administrator (whom Yehoshua leaves unnamed) uncovers the woman’s bittersweet past, his mission takes on a new purpose: offering her a proper burial. Hillel Halkin’s translation from Hebrew feels stiff at times, yet A Woman in Jerusalem‘s poignancy lies in its protagonist’s overwhelming desire to pay respect to someone he never knew.