When Motti and Reuven, age 12,
discover that a mysterious stranger has infiltrated their neighborhood, they’re
sure that he’s a cunning, cruel spy and they don’t hesitate. They call on their
detective skills acquired from adventure books that they love, and together
with Aviva, Reuben’s pretty sister, they set out to stop the dangerous enemy.
But the mission becomes more and more complicated.
The story takes place in Israel in the
mid-1960s, when espionage affairs were rocking the country and setting people’s
imaginations afire. But is the lonesome, skinny old man that the kids are
following actually a spy? Slowly, another picture begins to emerge, one that is
painful and nightmarish. A number of Holocaust survivors live in the
neighborhood, and Motti himself is the son of a couple who lived through the
Nazi era in Europe. His talkative father wants to talk about his experiences in
the concentration camps, but his mother remains silent, bent over her sewing
machine all the time. They both want their son to be a regular kid, a Sabra
without any complexes. Surprisingly, the youngsters’ adventure deepens
awareness of Motti’s family story and how the past affects life in the present.
The story of the “second generation”
is told here in a way that it never has before. This is an entertaining,
humorous and exciting book whose surprise ending reveals the olds wounds
beneath Israeli life.
The Lost Spy and the
Green Dress is
the first book in a series.
Illustrations: Michel Kichka
COMPLETE ENGLISH TRANSLATION AVAILABLE (for publishers only)
PARTIAL TRANSLATIONS IN FRENCH AND RUSSIAN.
Lost Spy and the Green Dress by Alex Paz-Goldman demonstrates that profound
and thought-provoking children’s literature that is also engrossing is
sometimes produced here too ... The writer uses a detective-story plot to tell
a far deeper tale … Paz-Goldman doesn’t tell a regular story and his manner of
telling, as well as his talent, are superior to the run of the mill in this
genre … I particularly enjoyed the mesmerizing way in which the writer
describes childhood in a Ramat Gan neighborhood in the middle of the 1960s, a
description through which he manages to convey an entire era. There’s a lot of
courage in Goldman’s narrative technique … Do not miss this book.
Ronit Rokas, Achbar HaIr
Lost Spy and the Green Dress undoubtedly meets the criteria for a work of
art. A detective story that harnesses the dramatic effect of that genre and
childhood joy in order to present additional layers, deeper and no less
dramatic. The flow of the story, along with the lucid, convincing, humoristic
and moving portrayal of life in its
complexities, make for the reading experience that is to be expected from a
work that is so precise and enriching … The great success of Paz-Goldman lies
in his ability to construct a story in a framework that is strong enough to
contain sub-plots whose content is complex and difficult. Another reason is the
delightful and convincing depiction of the way people lived in that era … The Lost Spy and
the Green Dress is a decisive demonstration of the way that an entertaining,
suspenseful adventure for young readers
can also have many layers without being oppressive but rather can even make it
soar, up to the peaks of fine writing.
Yotam Shwimmer, Ha-Pinkas
book is written with skill and humor … Worthwhile.
Yehiam Padan, Bestbooks.co.il
of the children’s books that have appeared recently have been marked with the
distinct features of literature that cleaves to the landscape of childhood …
One of the best of these is The Lost Spy and the Green Dress … it reads
Nira Levin, DafDaf