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Tamar Weiss-Gabbay


A writer, editor, and screenwriter, Tamar Weiss-Gabbay writes for both adults and children. Co-founder and editor of the leading Israeli literary journal HaMussach, Weiss-Gabbay has initiated a number of literary-social projects, including The Israeli Women Writers’ Forum, The Street Libraries in Jerusalem, Two: A Bilingual Project for Arabic and Hebrew Contemporary Literature, and others.

Her books Babylonian Mythology and the children's book Vainana Chooses a King, both published in 2003, are based on Sumerian and Akkadian myths. Weiss-Gabbay has also written two fiction books for adults, Zeppelin (Keter) and Blind Spot (Ha’Kibbutz Ha’Meuchad).

Her children's books Tali Under the Table (Kinneret Zmora, 2020) and Just an Empty Field (Kinneret Zmora, 2022) were both selections of the PJ Program, with 120,000 copies distributed in kindergartens and preschool facilities across Israel. The PJ Program published special limited editions of both books in Spanish and Portuguese.


Her novella The Weather Woman  received the prestigious Brenner Literary Prize, 2022.


Her picture book Tali Under Table was the Winner of the prestigious Dvora Omer award (2021), and her book The Thank You Tomatoes was sortlisted for the Jewish Children's Book Award (2022) 

Title: The Weather Woman


Publisher: Locus Books

Year: 2022

91 pp.


Translation rights: World

Audio visual rights: In adaption into a television series by HSCC

Translation: Complete English translation by Jessica Cohen, Man Booker International Prize Winner. Partial German by Anne Birkenhauer

Italian rights sold (Giuntina, 2024)

The first part of the novella The Weather Woman was translated into English by Jessica Cohen, and published by Two Lines Press in the anthology Elemental in March 2021. It has since been developed into a TV script.


An isolated town, perched on a cliff overlooking a canyon in the middle of a desert. Changing weather patterns and worsening floods mean imminent peril for the town and all its residents.

The novella follows the fate of three protagonists: a charismatic teacher, who stands bravely against the forces of nature; his daughter, the local weather woman, whose prognosis for the town’s survival is bleak and counsels abandonment; and her niece, slow and unambitious, sent to live in the town to attend a special education program, a final chance to set herself right.


Basking in her aunt’s status as the saviour of the town after predicting the deadly floods, the girl tries hard to make the best of the opportunity she’s been given. Beneath the surface though, charged emotions are threatening to pull the family apart. Seeking to impose his authority on the forces of nature, the father initiates construction of a giant pipeline to divert the flow of the next flood, into the canyon below.


The weather woman fears the arrogance of her father and his followers. Their belief, that they can bend nature to their will, can only end in hubris and loss, she fears. And so, the battle lines are drawn…


In The Weather Woman, Weiss-Gabbay personifies the all-too-real extreme manifestations of nature as characters in her fiction, channeling them into a complex and engaging relationship with her human heroes and villains. The Weather Woman is a sweeping, topical story, with unforgettable protagonists who will work their way into the reader’s heart and mind.

Critical Praise


A must-read reflection on our relationship with nature, on the infinite and controversial attempt to tame it using culture. 

(Marco Filoni, Venerdi) 

The second chapter is truly dizzying and daring... A man who asks for help becomes a man who calls for his mother, then a man who is no longer a man but a form of life, and an elementary form at that. A journey backwards. And a mystery: that of an end which - perhaps - will resemble a beginning. 

(Marco Archetti, Il Foglio) 


 It's hard to think of a more "political" text... than the novel The Meteorologist by Israeli writer and screenwriter Tamar Weiss Gabbay... In this microcosm...  Weiss Gabbay precipitates worries which only apparently concern man’s relationship with nature, but that in fact question the meaning of existence itself and our perception of ourselves as part of an interconnected, multiple, plural space...  with extreme grace and equal determination, along with the irreducible capacity of narrative to question the world as we know it, the novel helps us imagine it together with the others.

Tamar says: “This is why nature is not just rocks, floods and gazelles: it is everything, perhaps it's the only thing. And it includes ourselves, even if we try to deny it. Then try to find the your place in nature, in your habitat, among all animals and elements (including other human beings) around you, means trying to understand your place in the world - and this it is truly an internal position. And all this affects you too when you sit in front of your computer on the third floor of a building in a busy city, far away from what is considered «nature»”... Above all, I wanted to free [the protagonists] from many other roles; giving them a name would have forced them to identify with a specific nation, culture, history and perhaps even a religion. I tried to peel all these layers off the story to thus represent the characters: humans and other animals who share a space and take on roles with each other... Consciously or unconsciously I was inspired by some events I witnessed or of that I heard about. One is the Tzafit River disaster, in which in 2018 ten young people were killed in a flash flood when their teachers urged them to take unnecessary risks. Then there is the story of Yohana, a gazelle that entered my heart: once freed it never found its place neither in the pack, nor among humans. All her life she was torn between her identities. As I think happens to all of us... Naturally, as a young author raised in the canon of men's literature, I wanted to put my story ahead of that famous (and beautiful) by Hemingway and say: here's how I tell it. Each of the three characters brings with it something that belongs to me, I see myself in each of them and I don't consider them "good" or "bad". But I put a young girl at odds with the old man catching a fish (and in contrast with Hemingway, who was himself a hunter) because I believe that young women may have new stories from bring into this world... In fact, [the meteoroligst] thinks we are already leaving. Whether we like it or not, we are part of a network and we are very dependent and fragile, and it is difficult to draw the lines between that what is "us" and what is not "us". This applies to both the germs in our body and for those of our neighbors. It is an illusion to be separated from what surrounds us, to manage it and use it only for our needs. Even if we succeed for a short time, in the long term our well-being depends on the well-being of others. Of all creatures... I think you can read it even as relating to the history of Israel. After all, I think that in my country the approach towards nature is also affected from History and its different phases. When your connection with the earth, with your physical habitat, is questioned again and again, you struggle to find answers to these questions and to demonstrate your connection to that place. Sometimes you can’t afford to have doubts. You can't always ask yourself: which one is the form of my relationship with the place itself? Is it a relationship of property? Does being tied to a place mean modifying it for our needs? Growing fruits in the desert? Travel anywhere and at any time, despite difficulties and problems? Can we live in it without owning it? Can we only be another part of our habitat, one of the others? Can we share it? Will it still be our habitat if won't we control it?... This is a terrible time. But when it comes to authors, I hear many say that they find their words have lost meaning and I'm still looking for a new language. This reminds me of the old story of Etgar Keret, where says that when someone has a asthma attack, every word that he can say it matters more than usual - in moments like these it is there a huge difference if you say «I love you" instead of "Ambulance!". So I hope that more and more people here are able to say and write something more than «Ambulance!». But as long as we all bury our dead, worry about young women kidnapped and for children dying of starvation, and have to care for thousands of displaced people both a Gaza than Israel, I understand that it's hard to expect... May there be enough pain for everyone today. We can recognize our horrible suffering and yet want the suffering of others to end. This is how I feel: my heart and the my mind goes to all those who suffer. I cry together with my relatives and friends for their terrible losses, and I can't stop thinking about what Palestinian families are experiencing. You can't fix an evil with another evil, and this applies to both parties. I am very concerned about the many opinions that seem unable to support an overall approach that treat everyone equally... Maybe we really need a leader like my weather woman, someone who can see all the creatures they share the same living space and desire to truly act for the good of them all. But we also need a leader that has more faith in the future than the weather woman, who doesn't see a way to solve the problem she is facing. If you think about it, this leader it should look more like the girl trying to save a gazelle even if she is told that this action is useless.

(Guido Caldiron, Il Manifesto)

The story takes place in a desert... but while the desert is the backdrop to the story, it matters little which desert it is. The desert is a bit like the ocean: a space so large and absolute that it sucks every other place into itself, that it becomes like the synthesis of every other place, even internal and not just geographical... And in all this, which happens far beyond the contribution of each individual life, an author like Tamar Weiss Gabbay knows how to weave her story, knows how to place the embryo of her idea and embody it inside a desert as in a womb, so that it utters one's cry... The Meteorologist is indeed a woman outside the box, an adventurer at the service of nature and man, who was the first to achieve something that no one would have ever expected in that remote desert... And by a woman, no less! The heroic exaltation of this femininity devoted to an hermitage dedicated to the desert constitutes the moral interweaving of the whole story... A heroine returned to the town to save it, with all the messianic impulses attached to such a powerful description... The intrinsic poetics of the text supports the emphasis of this only apparently meteorological mission, transforming every prediction into an oracle, grasping vague signs in the sky without destiny, however, being able to remain grasped by it... The whole book revolves around the unknown ethics of expectations, those that come from outside voices and those that arise - much more pressing - from within the soul. The meteorologist experiences the daily anguish arising when her predictions do not come true: a Cassandra in reverse, where the problem is not that she is not believed, but that she does not believe herself, or that she believes too much in the value of what others would like to believe, in their expectations... There are, of course, also readers' expectations. At the beginning they are all focused on the book, and its 95 pages which could be all or nothing; in the end each reader turns them on himself, because those 95 pages worked, and well too. Leaving within us, perhaps, the space of a providential desert, of a remote sound of breaking waters, and of a distant East wind which we do not know whether it brings rain or drought, and which perhaps is our very soul. 

(Nuccio Puglisi, Lucia Libri) 


The challenge that The Meteorologist faces is to remind us that the presence of us human beings on Earth, with our organization, the mania for measuring, sheltering, leveling streets and fields, domesticating, mapping - is not necessarily well-liked. That our entire existence is, in reality, a continuous concession by the soil that hosts us... That our entire existence is actually a continuous concession from the soil that hosts us... In the book "natural life and interior life mix in a game of alliances, references and symbiosis. In some respects the novel is very reminiscent of another beautiful and poetic recent one, Pain is a Thing with Feathers (Max Porter). Because animals and nature are not only what is other than us, the foreign body that tells us the simplest and purest aspect of our existence, but they are also symbols and metaphors to signify what we sense but cannot explain: life.

(Francesca Coraglia, Il Librario) 


The Meteorologist is a magical book. Of the world from which she comes, i.e. the screenplay, the author borrowed both the ease of language and the respect for time, and dictated, in this case, by a prose that is heated yet expertly kept at bay. Especially when the first disagreements start  between the meteorologist and her neighbours, because "people only hear what they want to hear". .. Suddenly, the meteorologist understands that "her whole body was not suited to that place, it didn't feel like her own, it did not recognize the winds, the clouds, the animals" and it is from this point in the story onwards that the novel becomes a tale of the double. The protagonist, in short, is a woman who left without ever actually leaving and, returning home, realizes that home means everything and nothing. It might seem like a tongue twister, but in reality it’s everyone's condition;  we all wander around the world in search of ourselves and, in doing so, only create our own double...  the leitmotif of the entire story is precisely the sense of challenge: expectations versus reality, man against nature, stray dogs against gazelles but, above all, a sort of all against all which becomes a boxing match with oneself. It has to be said that, despite the nuances of the plot are at times distressing, Tamar Weiss Gabbay manages to keep the reader on the razor's edge thanks to a calibrated prose... Earth and the human beings who inhabit it, occupiers and occupied, nature and carelessness, in short, are the true protagonists; above all that nature which warns us, even brutally, that we are all, everyone, immigrants and guests. If it doesn't suit us, the narrator tells us, we should go back to where we came from. 

(Maurizio Fiorino, La Republica) 


The book describes a dystopian but contemporary, very current world in which the climate represents a sort of obsession for the inhabitants of the city, their greatest fear, to the point of rejecting dire predictions of imminent disasters, deluding oneself into thinking we are able to influence nature through weather forecasts. Weiss Gabbay's story is striking, and not so much for the indisputable relevance of the topic, as for the intelligent and original way in which it is approached. The author, who also writes texts for children, takes the reader by the hand and leads him page after page, leading him to open his eyes, building an exemplary allegory on the complex relationship between man and nature. It is (explicitly) not a book about the climate crisis, the concept itself is never mentioned in the novel, and it's not even clear whether the protagonists, in their imaginary world, are aware of the depth of the crisis and its consequences, yet the plot and characters are immersed and influenced by it. And it is not even an environmentalist manifesto, but simply a story with a tight and precise rhythm, where the author abstains from sermons and moral, alluding, however, to the need for a profound change in individual and collective perspective in order to face the ongoing crisis. This short novel offers readers a vibrant snapshot of one of the greatest contemporary concerns; with an original narrative choice, it stages the danger of man's defeat in struggle with nature but also with himself; proposes a Greek tragedy ending but also a (possible) catharsis, the idea of a possible future to a new relationship between man and nature. 

(Francesca Santolini, La Stampa)


 three generations (toledot) who demonstrate the difficulty of responding to other people's expectations and question us readers on the most complex themes of life, death, decline and rebirth... In the book the natural and interior lives of the protagonists compete for the narrative space "in a game of alliances, references and symbiosis". But, in the writer’s opinion, nature, who hosts and tolerates the presence of man, not always respectful of his rhythms, is the true protagonist of an agile and fast novel which however requires a slow and concentrated reading... “The Meteorologist” is a novel that surprises, excites, overwhelms and gives us, with a prose with a calibrated rhythm, imbued with nuances that are sometimes imaginative and sometimes disturbing, a powerful reflection on our relationship with Nature that we would like to tame to the needs of ephemeral profits. A must-read book to remind us that "our existence is, in reality, a continuous concession by the soil that hosts us" and that, making use of the tools of culture, we must learn to respect and love it for our own survival. 

(Georgia Greco, informazione corecta) 

How much time is contained in a few hours? All. And this is what Tamar Weiss-Gabbay delivers to us with her The Meteorologist . Time is measured, analysed, evaluated, convoluted, unfolded, predicted, recalled, photographed in snapshots that change and distort before our eyes like color dripping onto a canvas. In every fragment of the book there is hidden, intertwined on itself in the space of a few hours, all the time that the protagonists have lived, live and will live and it is the writer's ability to let these intertwined threads emerge without confusing the reader and, indeed, making each interconnection that is revealed clarifying for the text as a whole. The line of the present is grafted with references to the past and glances at the future thanks to which the experiences of the characters merge and confuse each other, mirroring each other in a continuous exchange of details used to intertwine the identities of each one in a single collective experience that merges the natural with the artificial, the human being with everything that surrounds him, literature and lived life, physiological time with that of memory... The world of The Weather Woman , in fact, does not know the nominal, but it is not missed . None of the characters are marked by a proper name, the only words used to draw the figures that move between the pages are functional and have to do with the actions they carry out or with the relationships they form with others which therefore give them the role, the position, that they occupy in the moving puzzle that is gradually forming, tile after tile. She is the woman of the time, of her time, who can know and spread the future one step away from everyone else. An almost prophetic figure in some ways... A modern Cassandra, who lends her mouth to the forces of nature, fatally forced to remain silent or lie to be believed , not in control of her predictions of which she cannot be completely certain, but for which she must carry the responsibility with her . Or as a sort of Christological figure who sacrifices herself at the end of her literary story for having embodied, in some way, the spirit of the times of her era  ... Each of these parts dialogues with the others in many different ways starting from the fact that they are three different generations who consequently embody three different ways of perceiving and relating to the world, time, space and the environment that surrounds them : Tamar Weiss-Gabbay skillfully uses all the imaginative methods that a literary composition makes available to intertwine the inside with the outside, the past with the present and the future , to confuse the natural kingdoms into which the world is conventionally and anthropocentrically divided , to flow constantly, with the same oscillatory movement with which the tide moves, from literature to life and vice versa. 

(Luna Piccioni, Fata Morgnana) 

Then came The Weather Woman—a clever and agile Israeli novella, embroidering an exemplary allegory about the complex relationship between man and nature. This is not a book about the climate crisis; the concept itself is not mentioned in the novel, the characters do not deal with global warming, and it is not even clear that in their fictional world there is awareness of the depth of the crisis and its far-reaching consequences. This is not an environmental manifesto, but simply excellent prose, in part because it deals with the environment without making abrasive statements about it. The Weather Woman is a powerful book in part because the climate-environmental issue is not pushed forward; the plot, and the characters are simply steeped in it and organically influenced by it…

Every sentence in the book is symbolic, denoting something else besides. Everything is loaded with meaning beyond the plot and the words themselves; everything says something about the power balance at the core of the book, which makes reading it a kind of layered and enigmatic game. Reading The Weather Woman requires vigilance, but is also able to generate pleasure and curiosity. Everything in this novella is tight and precise. There are no unnecessary words, no overflowing descriptions. Weiss Gabbay sculpts with Hebrew as if with damp clay, and also places in the story references to other works—to films, belles lettres, the Bible—some implicit and some direct. ‘The relationship between man and nature’ is a big, pretentious theme, but the novella itself is modest, and avoids preaching as is the way of good works of art. The change will take place through the heart... It evokes a sense of a one-time event. The Weatherwoman is a timeless and clever parable, one that deserves to become a significant landmark, in both the environmental and the cultural sense.

Haaretz, September 2022


This journey should begin with a travel warning: while small in size, The Weather Woman is powerful in its literary dimensions […] Its ninety pages present an engrossing, original, and concise plot that lingers on after its last page.

Gilit Chomsky, Makor Rishon


It’s a surprise and a pleasure to come across such a book, that wanders away from the magnet of Tel Aviv and all the bourgeoise troubles; with a plot that unfolds in a rock-carved canyon, rather than in a big shopping mall; with deers, eagles, and wild dogs supporting characters, set against mountains and changing seasons.

Maya Becker, Haaretz


Weiss-Gabbay’s writing maintains a sensible edge, even as it strives toward an optimistic and peaceful vision in its allusions to a fascinating intellectual-literary proposition: that changing our relationship with nature may bring with it a literary change—not only in the way we read our classics, but in the composition of all masterpieces of the future.

Keren Dotan, Israel Hayom

Tamar Weiss-Gabbay: Children

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