The startling events in this novel
take place in the near future, and are documented by Jonathan, a Jewish prince
imprisoned in the citadel in Jaffa after the destruction of Israel by its
Some twenty years earlier, Tel Aviv
and other coastal cities were destroyed in a nuclear attack, and in its wake
Yeho’az, a charismatic junior officer, seized control of the armed forces,
expelled all non-Jews and founded the Kingdom of Judah. Crowned king, he built
the Third Temple in Jerusalem, with sacrificial rites - now the central feature
of national life - conducted as in Biblical times. Yeho’az is assisted by his
sons: David, his strong and handsome firstborn, is in charge of the military;
hedonistic Yo’el is responsible for Temple worship, and his youngest, loyal and
trusting Jonathan, manages the Temple calendar.
Jonathan has been physically
handicapped since childhood, following a terror attack intended to kill his
father. Now, however, he learns that his father ran away from the attackers,
leaving him behind. His father’s image is further tarnished during the critical
weeks of a military campaign outside the kingdom’s borders. The war gets
tougher, more and more soldiers are killed. David is critically wounded, Yo’el
flees the country with his family, and famine spreads through the land. But
Yeho’az, who has delusions of grandeur, refuses to surrender and in an
appalling moment, prepares to sacrifice his infant son - born to his second
wife - in order to appease the deity. And then, the kingdom falls…
A courageous, disconcerting and
powerful novel, a dark futuristic allegory, a warning sign for the present.
ENGLISH TRANSLATION AVAILABLE (for publishers only).
Winner of the 2016 BERNSTEIN PRIZE for young Hebrew writers
The project is audacious, and the masterful orchestration of the story and its poetic tone are at the height of this audacity. And so are the questions it raises…Beautiful and chilling.
Patricia Reznikov, Le Nouveau Magazine Littéraire , March 2018
Between political charge and demonstration by the absurd, the author signals a fiction of biblical anticipation that sounds like a plausible future for Israel.
Micheline Weinstock, Bouillon de culture, March 2018
An extreme novel that reads like a warning.
There are books that bruise as one reads. Others redeem those who read them. The Third, recently published by Actes Sud in a French translation by Rosie Pinhas-Delpuech, bruises, for sure. Perhaps it will also redeem. In any case, an event has occurred in Hebrew literature, in world literature, a landmark event …. The Third is animated by an unprecedented visionary power. His images pierce your heart, they haunt you. One thinks of Orwell and the Sansal of 2084.
The reader is obliged to enter into the logic of Jonathan's hallucinatory narrative. One feels a real discomfort, splashed by the blood of animals sacrificed and oppressed just like Jonathan
The duty of testimony becomes a fantasy story
Yishai Sarid has emerged as a polished storyteller whose writing is lucid, almost transparent, and poetic even though he consciously avoids any poetic pretence … The Third is well written, precise and sharp, and its dialogue with… Hebrew literature as well as speculative literature is deep and fertile.
The Bernstein Prize
Apart from this simply
being a good book, Sarid’s dystopia has deep and strong foundations in today’s
reality, and that makes it into something valuable.
One of the most compelling
novels written here in recent times. In a measured and easily digested manner,
it dispenses a rich linguistic, cultural and narrative abundance … From the artistic aspect and from the
experiential aspect, The Third is
highly recommended … The story is convincing, and the details that fill it are
Tsur Ehrlich, Makor Rishon
The most apocalyptic, futuristic, historical and perhaps also most realistic novel published in Israel in recent years … Sarid holds the reader in thrall … Sarid assembles the story’s mosaic with infinite patience and precision, injecting literary glue into the crevices created between the stones. The small details spawn deep meanings, layers of history, politics, relations between people, that take shape gradually and burrow their way deep into the reader’s psyche … Sarid succeeds in packing his short novel with a multitude of themes, conflicts, metaphors and allegories. The Third is a work that will generate extensive and deep literary, theological, cultural and political discussion. It is a work that continues to hold the reader in its grip long after he or she finishes it.
Maya Guez, Haaretz
Sarid has done in-depth research. He is sensitive to the
subtleties of the contemporary Israeli imbroglio … The
prose is articulate and professional, the novel’s tempo is very good, and the
dystopian vision takes on substance and credibility.
Arik Glasner, Bac.org.il
Written with the great skill that was evident in the writer’s previous two books. Sarid’s style of writing is very flowing … He keeps the reader engrossed.
Yossi Beilin, Israel Hayom
An outstanding book … A
treasure trove of knowledge, well built and beautifully written
Neri Livneh, Haaretz
An outstanding book, written with love.
Rino Tzror, IDF Radio
A credible work, one that captures reality ... What makes The
Third engrossing from the literary point of view is Sarid’s commitment
to the lunacy he is describing … Yishai Sarid demonstrates to the reader the
extent to which this lunacy is part of the presen … This was a sad and painful
realization, but the fact that Sarid managed to lead me to it says a great deal
about his talent and about his book.
Yiftach Ashkenazy, Mako
This is a compelling read, if only because it constantly
plays out around the border between what is totally imaginary and what may well
already occur in a few years time … The book is in essence an allegory of
fundamentalism … Highly recommended.
Tomer Persico, Literary Blog
The apocalyptic vision
depicted in the book is read with bated breath. At times it is reminiscent of
the British TV series “Black Mirror” … Reading the book is like staring into a
very scary mirror and not being able to look away, not being able to stop
reading, not being able to put the book down …
Although it is futuristic and fictional, the novel shocks with the truth of its
diagnoses and the painful relevance to our lives.
Ofra Offer Oren, Literary Blog
A terribly exciting book
… I could not put it down.
Yaron London, Channel 10
A superb book depicting a
political dystopia … conveys the message powerfully. Must not
Nissim Katz, Yekum Tarbut
An important book … I was totally captivated
Edna Abramson, Lit-Republic
One reads this book with bated breath … Impressive research
work along with impressive narrative skill make The Third an unprecedentedly
powerful account of the Third Temple …
An outstanding book … Yishai Sarid is a talented and ambitious
storyteller … An engrossing book, disturbing and unusual on the local
landscape. Do not miss it.
Raanan Shaked, E-vrit