Everybody wants something
from Eliran Zinawi: His mobster father, Israel’s No. 1 crime boss, expects him
to participate in a major struggle against a rival gang; a vengeful and
oversexed woman wants him to kill her ex, who is deputy head of the Mossad; his
girlfriend, a Tel Aviv student, keeps insisting that he tell her the truth
about himself, and the army has called him up for reserve duty and a military
operation in Gaza. And what does Eliran Zinawi want? Just the usual things:
money, great sex, and for everyone to love him.
Only Child is a thrilling, fast-paced novel that also takes a courageous
look at nagging topical issues in Israeli society, such as links between
criminals and politicians, ethnic tensions, intolerance, and the exclusion of the
“other.” The voice of the hero, Eliran Zinawi, has the clear and sharp tone of
today’s Israeli youth: ambitious, shrewd, refusing to grow up. But he is also a
complex and tragic figure, torn between loyalty to his family and his criminal
way of life, his moral conscience and the need to rebel against his father and extricate
himself from the cycle of violence.
peculiar series of events and family revelations open Eliran’s eyes to the
extent of treachery and danger in his world, and he contemplates his own place
in the production line of Israeli identity. He chooses to turn his back on the criminal
norms he is so familiar with, but pays a heavy price. From his prison cell, he
makes a clean breast of things, he tries to explain his actions and his motives,
and surprisingly he succeeds in arousing our sympathy.
PARTIAL ENGLISH TRANSLATION AVAILABLE (for publishers only).
Avi Garfinkel tackles the big issues:
From the angle of a social critic, he has written a book with an ambitious
political purpose, setting out to paint a contemporary portrait of Israeli
society … It is surprisingly relevant, suspenseful, entertaining and astute.
Only Child feels something like The Sopranos
or The Godfather, with a hero who is a kind of local Vito Corleone …
Someone should make a movie of it.
A vibrant novel that touches the bare
nerve ends of Israel today, with a fast-moving plot that is reminiscent of an
The narrator of Only Child,
like Avi Garfinkel, is a gifted narrator. He knows how to hold on to a story,
how to develop it, to create suspense and to pause it when necessary.
This book is a very sensitive and
topical social seismograph, that accurately reflects the edgy pulse of our
society … Hats off to Avi Garfinkel for finally producing a novel in this genre
in Hebrew … This is a brave book.
Only Child is engrossing and flows from
beginning to end, mainly thanks to the up-to-date language and the surprising
People of the Book
This would make a great basis for a
Tarantino movie. The plot is pacy and suspenseful, sometimes amusing … Only Child
is very enjoyable, and it convincingly reflects issues that interest Israeli
society …The novel provides one of the most important elements that readers
require of literature – it is simply fun to read.
Hallelujah! Only Child
is not only an outstanding crime thriller, it is also one of the better Israeli
novels I have read this year, a top contender for the title of the best of all…
The book is written at the pace of a frenetic thriller, but this does not
prevent Garfinkel from shaping complex, profound characters and conflict
situations – between one individual and
another, and also between the individual and himself … I think that this is a book with something very
important to say, something worth listening to.
Uri Keidar, Thrillercritic