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The Zigzag Kid Hardcover – September, 1997

19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Noted for both his provocative journalism (e.g., The Yellow Wind, LJ 4/15/88) and his fiction (e.g., The Book of Common Grammar, LJ 4/15/94), Israeli writer Grossman here offers an imaginative new tale whereby the rebellious son of a detective is whisked away by a friendly kidnapper on the trail of the trademark purple scarf of actress Lola Ciperola.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

"Zigzag kids" don't fit into the symmetrical worlds of school and society. Nonny, son of a by-the-book Jerusalem cop and a free-spirited mom, is one such kid, and as he approaches his Bar Mitzvah, Nonny's life undergoes its grandest zigzag yet. Embarked on a train trip to Haifa and knowing that a birthday surprise has been arranged by his father, Nonny is not particularly shocked when the charismatic Felix appears to stop the train at gunpoint and whisk him away in a limousine. Part of the surprise, he figures. Wrong. The kidnapper is his father's nemesis, a master thief who just happens to be Nonny's grandfather. Felix takes Nonny on a picaresque coming-of-age journey into the boy's past--and that of his long-dead mother, whose crime-tainted history has been buried by Nonny's father. Despite a too-elaborate premise and a few moments that strain credibility, Israeli novelist Grossman's inventive tale is a rollicking delight, combining on-the-road adventure with meaty reflection on what it means to be happy. Bill Ott

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 309 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux (T); First Edition edition (September 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374296928
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374296926
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,564,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

David Grossman was born in Jerusalem. He is the author of numerous works of fiction, nonfiction, and children's literature. His work has appeared in The New Yorker and has been translated into thirty languages around the world. He is the recipient of many prizes, including the French Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, the Buxtehuder Bulle in Germany, Rome's Premio per la Pace e l'Azione Umitaria, the Premio Ischia-- International Award for Journalism, Israel's Emet Prize, and the Albatross Prize given by the Günter Grass Foundation.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
Let me start by applauding an excellent translation (from the Hebrew) by Betsy Rosenberg. Only once or twice in reading this humorous coming of age tale did I recall it was a translation, which is always a good sign. The novel is written from the perspective of a 12-year-old boy just about to have his Bar Mitzvah in late '60 or early '70s Israel. Nonny is an only child, raised by a workaholic policeman father and his secretary girlfriend. At first we know little more than this, as the boy is placed by himself on a train to Haifa. Then, some odd events occur which had me worried that the book was headed into magical realism. Fortunately, this is not the case, but the boy is involved in a wild several days where it is not clear what is truth and what is deception. The boy's character and the mystery of his mother is unveiled with in tantalizing tidbits. For me the tension mounted and mounted all the way to the end, when the boy fully learns and understands his past. Very nice.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Diana Black Kennedy on July 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
I teach 8th grade literature at a Jewish Day School, so I am always looking for high quality literature that will speak to 13 year olds, and if it has some Jewish content, all the better. This is by far my students' favorite book of the year. We read it at the end of the year as they are getting ready to transition into high school, and it offers great discussion opportunities. But it is by no means a children's book--I loved reading it in its own right, as did my principal. In fact, another teacher walked into the Teacher's Lounge and saw it and said, "Oh, you're reading that! He's one of my favorite authors!" She was surprised to learn I was teaching the book. What a joy to find a book that speaks to young adults and adults alike!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By B. Fleischer on December 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
Though I read it in the Hebrew, the story was so rich and intriguing that the translation sure transmits the wonder and excitement of this book. Through style and story, Zizag Kid is a success.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gary Selikow on May 24, 2013
Format: Paperback
With the style, wit and charm unique to Israeli literature, David Grossman creates this whimsical page-turner about a 13 year old boy in 1970 Israel, who has a strange adventure with a veteran master criminal and a aging actress. Amnon (Nonnie) pieces together his family's history, while way from his gung ho cop father and his father's grossly overweight girlfriend.

Translated with all the charm, white and satire/humour of the original. This is a must read for lovers of contemporary literature. Sadly due to politically correct far-left anti-Israel racism, some libraries in Europe and the UK are now refusing to stock any books by Israeli authors, no matter how left wing or conciliatory towards the Arabs, these authors may be. So due to racism and hate and the genocidal drive to destroy an entire country and culture, many will miss out on the richness of authors like this and other masters of Israeli literature.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By "robotdaneel" on April 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
Finally I've found an Israeli author I like. .... I like what I readto be a bit weird, a bit unorthodox, unusual, and this book has all ofthat. I would have given it 5 stars but I think that the author went abit overboard at the last 50 pages or so. The pace was too fast, notgiving the reader enough time to breath and think about what's justbeen revealed. Too many amazing discoveries are written one rightafter the other. But - on the other hand - it also makes the storyflow very easily. I seldom have the opportunity to say this - I justcouldn't put the book down.
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By M. T. Guzman on October 31, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Twelve-year-old Amnon Feuerberg, only one week before his bar mitzvah, is placed on a train in Jerusalem by his dad and Gabi, his dad's secretary and (for many years) live-in female companion. Not especially happy about this trip, "Nonny" is enroute to the home of his uncle in Haifa...or so he believes. His actual destination is far more exciting than that. Neither Nonny Feuerberg nor the reader will have any idea where he is headed, but both are in for a wild, unbelievable ride!
Grossman does a terrific job with this novel. He aptly combines a young boy's sense of adventure, flamboyant characters, a fine-tuned mystery, two love stories, and a family revelation. Then he turns these all into one fun and frolicsome page-turner. Kol ha-kavod (loosely translated: Cheers!)!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By x on February 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
Grossman has changed my life totally. Because of him (particularly 'See under: love') I have even been learning Hebrew. There was something about this book though that made me leave it on the shelf - dunno what, maybe the cover, some inbuilt snobbiness about a book about children - and it stayed there for years. More fool me...
I started it and didn't stop until the last page. Absolute perfection. Possibly the most uplifting read I have ever read, and I always had a snidy pessimistic view towards sentimentality. Again, more fool me...
This cat's like a personal tutor to me, and I cannot imagine life without his (and Nabokov - my other fave's) books.
....
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By Mila on June 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
The book is about changing, as you grow up. It seems focused on the 12 year old Nonny, finding out his dead mother's story and discovering new sides of his identity. Reading the book, however, you soon realize that there are many characters who grow with Nonny, althought they are already what we call "adults". Don't expect a realistic description of a search for identity: everything here is colourful and magic and life long changes occur in the space of two days. This is the limitation but at the same time the big charm of this book: if you like going to the point via an indirect, poetical way, put it to the test!
Email me, if you have read the book and you'd like to discuss about it!
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