Israel and Germany in the late 1980s are the backdrop for a different legend – absorbing, surprising and dark – told in a variety of styles and from conflicting viewpoints. Arnon Greenberg is an Israeli in his thirties. One day his father is accused of being the Nazi war criminal Yoachim Kron, pretending to be a Holocaust survivor. From this moment on, at a fast pace and in rich language, Itamar Levy leads his protagonist on a fateful quest for his father's past. Arnon flies to Germany, hoping to find Kron's grave to prove that he is really dead and that his father cannot be him. He finds it, but the grave only incriminates his father further: it is empty. Yoachim Kron is imprisoned in Israel and his story ends in suicide.The riddle appears solved, but Levy answers each riddle with another. During his journey, Arnon is exposed to contemporary Germany and tries to redefine what World War II had so thoroughly undermined: the belief in moral certainty. Levy delves deeply into the murderer's fascination with his victim, and poses questions about modern Israel – the conflict between Israelis and Arabs, the treatment of minorities, the delicate web of life which includes so many Holocaust survivors. Levy has created an expressionist, multi-faceted and convincing world in a gripping tale that oscillates between the real and the fantastic.
I cannot recall the last time a novel gave me goose bumps...An intelligent, dark, non-gothic modern legend....The protagonist's illogical world is reflected in the frenzy of styles, which combine the language of the Bible, biblical commentaries and modern Hebrew....In some passages the author succeeds in doing what few before him have done: to speak in authentic Agnon style.
This is a book to read in one breath. It is astonishing, and the more astonishing it is, the more one is drawn into it. Surprisingly, this combination [of styles] turns out to be authentic and gripping, and it draws the reader deeper into the book despite the difficult subject.
Levy is one of the most prominent and talented representatives of the new literary generation.
Critic Yigal Schwartz