Tolle Lege—literally: pick up and read—is the third and last book in Shimon Adaf’s detective trilogy whose protagonist is Elish Ben Zaken. Adaf’s wildest but also most revealing and intimate novel, it goes far beyond the detective genre.
During his investigation into the disappearance of a girl from Sderot in the summer of 2014, an investigation recounted in the previous book in the trilogy, Elish Ben-Zaken meets poet Nahum Farkash. The encounter was brief and at the time did not carry much weight. But, it is in that brief encounter that Elish may have missed the most important clue for his investigation. Fourteen years later, in an Israel that has gone through great changes, the failure of that investigation and its missing pieces continues to haunt the lives of Elish’s niece and nephew, Tahel and Oshri.
The story of Nahum Farkash opens this book and the relations between his unexpected character and the events told in the previous books are gradually revealed. Elish, a character that was an enigma from the very first book, becomes the center of the mystery in this closing chapter.
Tolle Lege was shortlisted for the 2017 Sapir Prize.
Shimon Adaf challenges the reader, plays with genres, deconstructs and puts back together styles of writing, language and characters. One of the characters of the novel says that ‘detective novels are the opposite of poetry’, but in Adaf’s case, this is not necessarily true.
Adaf’s gaze is always unique, sharp, different, and strange. How wonderful is his gaze, how incomparable…In Tolle Lege, Adaf gifts his readers.