Yishai Sarid has written an unusual thriller―without bodies, good guys
or bad guys. The narrator is an unsuccessful Tel Aviv lawyer. He has only one
client, a loser like himself, who tries to commit suicide; he shares a seedy
apartment with a lazy, penniless alcoholic who dreams of being an actress; and
to top it all he has a strong, opinionated "Jewish mother."
By comparison, the case that
our lawyer is given on reserve duty in the army is a challenge: A young
woman named Almog has accused an elite officer of rape. The girl comes from an
underprivileged family in the south, while the officer, Captain Erez, is
considered of “the best”―a young man with values, motivated to excel and to contribute to society. The narrator and Kobi, his homosexual
assistant - whose personal life is also complicated - discover that the situation
between victim and accused is unexpected. And the further the investigation
proceeds, the harder the picture is to pin down. Was it rape or a
misunderstanding? And if it was rape, how to explain Erez’s reaction when the
narrator tells him that Almog is pregnant? Erez, who so far has denied the
charge, reacts joyfully. He is even willing to marry Almog! Thus the accused
confesses and the narrator closes the case, but without any sense of satisfaction
Introduces us to the core paradoxes of Israeli society…a vision both incisive
and kindly of a country with many identities. And Sarid marches courageously on ambiguous terrain.
In this book, you go from Tel Aviv to the Upper
Galilee, one step from the war in Lebanon…And this trip is more than exciting:
you read it in one go…because the subject of the book is Israel…a grinding
society with the thousand facets that make it up and that, increasingly, tremble and even crack…
A book that fits into the genre book within a book, in short; the best.
He captivates us with his way of opening up a world under
constant tension, that seeks a stability we feel is beyond their grasp.
Through his characters (a lawyer, a young woman
soldier and a high-flying officer accused of rape), Sarid draws a passionate
portrait of Israeli life.
This novel is interesting from numerous perspectives.
The author realistically portrays life in Tel Aviv. A lawyer by training, he
depicts a country where tradition and modernity live side by side, a country
constantly on the alert, where a tenuous peace is due to a vigilant army. He
finds the right tone to denounce the permanent feeling of oppression felt by
its citizens in a Jewish culture nurtured on superstition, the importance of an
all-powerful, macho army, and the corruption of a society where the most
powerful come out on top. The very lively narrative, devoid of dull moments, can
be read straight through.
A lovely book, whose hero is one of the most endearing losers
you’ve met… It is impossible not to love him… Sarid opens a spectacular gallery
of Israelis -- Investigation is
about us, a mirror held up to our face. Aren’t you going to take a look?
Ran Bin-Nun, Yedioth Ahronoth
This book belongs to the genre that in its cinematic version is
called “film noir.” … When you’ve finished reading it, something lingers in
your soul… Most of the enjoyment derives from Sarid’s ability to write,
describe and move the heart… There is so much strength here that you really
must not miss it… Sarid must write more.
It is a long time since I have read such a promising work by a new writer.
Amnon Dankner, Maariv
Yishai Sarid builds the image of a modern moral hero
struggling with Israeli reality, whose clichés he dismantles…This dual focus on
the national and the personal gives the book an authentic aura [with]a fascinating
protagonist who is also reader-friendly… There is something in the whole book
of the Knut Hamsun-like model that Hamsun called “the Genius.”… The tempo is fast,
and the focus of attention shifts from the investigation to [exploring] the
characters, their motives and their world.
Roni Pinkovitch, Haaretz
An outstanding book, one of the best
thrillers ever written in this country. The characterizations in it are
wonderful, there is compassion and love for people, and mainly a complexity
that is not common in thrillers. Yishai Sarid is trying to create a new kind of
literature, which does whatever it can to blur political and social
contrasts in order to form a new and
magnificent hybrid… Investigation creates an immediate closeness to the
main characters. At a certain stage, one’s heart is filled with pity for them,
and it is this feeling that gives the book most of its strength.
Dganit Borovsky, Maariv
The plot slices through and binds the
layers of society, in a struggle to bare the truth. Sarid creates a world made
up of the core of the local experience … His very precise writing breathes life
into the characters and reaches the very highest level of
Noa Manheim, Yedioth Ahronoth