After an exhausting night shift, Dr. Eytan Green leaves the Beersheva hospital where he works, gets into his luxurious SUV and speeds down a deserted Negev road. When he hits someone, he is horrified to discover that the injured man, an Eritrean migrant, has no chance of surviving, and he flees the scene. He goes home to his wife Liat--a high-ranking police investigator--and their two sons, to carry on with his life as if nothing had happened. But his life turns upside down the next morning when a young black woman knocks at the door. She is the dead man’s widow and Eytan realizes that she knows what has happened. At first, he thinks that she wants money; in fact, she wants something quite different. In a deserted garage deep in the desert, she forces him to give free medical assistance to sick and wounded people who have infiltrated into Israel from Africa and cannot afford to go to a doctor or a hospital. Eytan’s fate is now in the hands of this beautiful, strong woman who both attracts and repels him.
Interlaced with extortion and power struggles, this is a suspenseful social and moral drama; a story of intimacy at the heart of alienation, and of erotic attraction between opposites. But it is also the story of a single choice, a specific moment that makes a man open his eyes and ask, “Who am I, actually?” Ayelet Gundar-Goshen takes an unrelenting look at the darkest corners of Israeli society and of the human soul. And the reader, whoever he or she may be, will ask, “What would I do in this situation?”
ENGLISH TRANSLATION AVAILABLE (for publishers only).
A global sensation.
Skillfully translated by Sondra Silverston,
“Waking Lions” is a sophisticated and darkly ambitious novel, revealing an
aspect of Israeli life rarely seen in its literature.
The New York Times
“Waking Lions” yokes a crime story to thorny ethical issues in
ways reminiscent of Donna Tartt and Richard Price… It’s a rare book that can
trouble your conscience while holding you in a fine state of suspense.
Wall Street Journal
Gundar-Goshen’s gripping second novel
twists and turns like a thriller, and it is particularly impressive in its
The Sunday Times
A powerful thriller.
Publishers Weekly, Starred
Anyone who loves the magic of the printed word
should read Waking Lions.…Gundar-Goshen has earned, and deserves,
a worldwide audience, and this magnificent novel may well be the vehicle for
Uncommonly complex, socially aware,
and ethically ambiguous… Plot is almost secondary to the political implications
Gundar-Goshen explores — but what a plot it is, fuel for meditations on
integrity and the layered guilt of the Israeli bourgeoisie.
New York Magazine
Vividly imagined, clever, and morally ambiguous…
it's a smart and disturbing exploration of the high price of walking away,
whether it be from a car accident or from one's own politically unstable
Suspenseful and morally
devastating drama of guilt and survival, shame and desire from an author of
whom it has been said that with this novel she invented Israeli noir... Gripping,
Gundar-Goshen's U.S. debut seems
poised to catch fire, with the multiple narrative perspectives and dizzying
reversals that connoisseurs of this genre adore.
Kirkus, Starred Review
Mesmerizing... [The author] uses the format of a thriller to study the almost
unbridgeable gap between insider and outsider. The complex relationships... and the social dynamic will reverberate meaningfully
with U.S. readers.
Booklist, Starred Review
A gripping, suspenseful, and morally
devastating drama of guilt and survival, shame and desire from a remarkable
young author on the rise.
[Written] with such velocity that you can't put it down.
A startlingly achieved novel, with all the
page-turning appeal of a fine-honed thriller.
A gripping and tense thriller.
Lions personalises the situation providing insights into the uncomfortable mix
of guilt and anger of the host country coupled with the helplessness and
fatalism of the refugees.
Ayelet Gundar-Goshen’s omniscient
narrator involves us in a web of lies, guilt, evasion, seduction and moral
equivocation ... This might have
turned into an American-style minor thriller with predictable twists. Instead,
it is a work of great subtlety which wrenches at the heart of both the family
and the state, and makes for compulsive reading.
The events of the book’s final third
more closely resemble those of a police thriller … This shift in pace is
certainly exhilarating, and Gundar-Goshen has previously displayed her rare
ability to combine elements from a variety of genres … We sense Gundar-Goshen’s
wit trying to break through the surface; to escape the claustrophobic confines
of a novel so committed to being a more restrained, serious
offering … This
novel proves it’s not every day a writer like this comes our way.
Waking Lions is a classy, suspenseful tale of
survival where the good guys and the bad guys are harder to distinguish than
you might think. The implications of Gundar-Goshen’s work extend far beyond its
Israeli setting and shine a penetrating light into the dark corners of our safe
Waking Lions shows us that there’s more mystery
in who we think we are than in the narrative of any crime thriller…Gundar-Goshen tells this suspenseful story
with a delving and fresh style that unearths the inner lives of her characters.
It’s a literary thriller that is used as a vehicle to explore
big moral issues. I loved everything about it.
The author reveals the comfortable lies we tell
ourselves… The plot is bold.
Gundar-Goshen is a … brilliant
story-teller, moving between plots and sub-plots with a gripping cast of
characters. And, like the best US, Israeli and Scandinavian TV dramas, she can
take a straightforward genre - the thriller - and use it to explore big moral
and political questions about secrets, lies and race in modern-day Israel.
The Jewish Chronicle
The most explosive voice of the new generation of Israeli writers.
A fascinating, intense, extraordinary novel that manages to mix suspense and realism, universality, power, intimacy.
Gli Stati Generali
With a merciless lens always focused on the most hidden feelings and thanks to a rich but never redundant writing, baroque but still effective, alternating almost surprisingly the narrative voices, without giving up a subtle irony, the Israeli writer confronts us with the true meaning of life, wisely using all the registers of the narrative, from mysterious to social and psychological, from detective to sentimental… “Waking Lions” is a journey into ourselves, our thoughts, our education, to the hidden evil in all of us
Gazzetta di Mantova
Captivating, complex characters…very stirring.
An ultra-topical social novel…suspenseful, stormy and magnificently constructed.
A terrific book.
Enthralling and intriguing.
The author applies her dual academic qualifications
... so consistently that the reader’s breath is sometimes taken away, as if in a
stand storm ... The
combination of social realism, psycho-drama and thriller is so carefully
devised and balanced, that there is no room for lacunae, blind spots or
Kristina Maidt-Zinke, Süddeutsche Zeitung
Profound and surprising
Nr. 2 Weltempfänger Bestenliste, litprom.de
A breath-taking plot about love and lie… A perfectly written novel
ZDF “Das blaue Sofa“
An outstanding, brilliantly written story… This novel will not let
The mix of social novel, psycho-drama and thriller is so
carefully balanced that there is no room for blank spaces, blind spots, or
shoals. (…) The novel leaves the impression of a busy desert trip, where behind
every sand hill a sign awaits you, saying: ‘There are no easy answers'.
incredibly gripping story in which there can be no happy ending.
Those, who thought they already knew what’s good and evil, what’s right
and wrong, what’s human and bestial, will be left insecure after reading Ayelet
Gundar-Goshen’s Waking Lions. My favorite book of the year.