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Aryeh Sivan

Ostensibly a detective mystery, this light-hearted first novel is built like a box within a box. Wandering about Tel Aviv during the 1991 Gulf War, the narrator comes across the diary of Avner Ben-Horin, former policeman turned private detective, and retells his story. The diary dates back to British Mandate Tel Aviv during the 1930s - an energetic, defiant fledgling town with bizarre frontier quality (unlike the modern city under missile attack, stunned by its vulnerability and fearing its destruction). An introspective man with a literary bent, Avner Ben-Horin is hired to unravel the disappearance of Zecharia Yulin, but his personal account of the investigative trail is in fact a shell, opening to reveal an intensely nostalgic, confessional narrative. Indeed, the mystery disappearance is solved at the conclusion of Ben-Horin's diary within his help.

Under detective cover, Sivan (whose distinctive poetic voice is heard throughout) paints a colorful, exotic period in Tel Aviv's history, including the violent political fissions of leftists and Communists of the time, the literati, love affairs and oddball characters from all corners of the earth. His target is also the nature of literary creation. The nameless contemporary narrator returns at the end to consider Ben-Horin's motive for writing down the tale of his failed stab at detective work. He raises an array of possibilities, so doing the work of critics and saving them the use of their scalpel. The true subject of the novel, however, is the author's loving, sinuous recreation of place and era.


Adonis is a unique book in modern Hebrew literature ... Aryeh Sivan has set a landmark with Adonis.
Die Welt

The book can be read in various ways - as a detective story, as a political thriller, as an intelligent mythology ... Aryeh Sivan's language extends beyond the terrain and offers the resonance of dimensions, drawing on subterranean tones such as one hardly expects in Jewish context.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

You can clearly feel the atmosphere of the time … Sivan has written a wonderful, poetic novel, in which the detective story only appears to reign.

The novel offers not only a plot of a complex thriller with mysterious characters, but also a colorful picture of Tel Aviv at the beginning of the 1930s.

Neue Züricher Zeitung

Sivan unfolds a colorful panorama which reminds us, in its suggestive Mediterranean atmosphere and subtly drawn characters, of Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet.

Atfelder Zeitung

Adonis offers much pleasure to readers who know Tel Aviv of the present.

Berliner Morgenpost

This book is a gift כor riddle solvers … It will satisfy the appetites of detective lovers, as well as those who appreciate love stories and word games. I am deeply grateful for the erotic scenes, probably the best in Hebrew literature … Sivan deals with the subject with taste and courage … Sivan's book is thoroughly entertaining, full of eye-winking and tongue-in-cheek wit.
Yehudit Orian, Yedioth Ahronoth

The best suspense novel written in Hebrew, which also serves me as source of inspiration and envy, that I don't bother to hide, is Adonis by Aryeh Sivan. It's a book that works on all levels: a thriller, a period novel and in particular an intelligent puzzle.

Author Gal Amir, Haaretz

Adonis is undoubtedly the best detective book in Hebrew.
Eli Eshed, Literary blog

Sivan Adonis
Title Adonis
Author’s Last Name Sivan
Author's First Name Aryeh
Language(s) Hebrew, German, Chinese, Estonian
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Am Oved
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 1992
No. Pages 201 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Adonis
Representation Represented by ITHL


German: Frankfurt, S. Fischer, 1994; pback: 2017
Estonian: Tallinn, Eesti Raamat, 1997
Chinese: Nanchang, Baihuazhou, 2000
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