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The Debba: A Novel by [Avner Mandelman]
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The Debba: A Novel Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 26 ratings

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Length: 369 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Audible book:
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Editorial Reviews


“In this fast-paced thriller, the philosophical wrestling matches the action blow for blow.”—Hadassah Magazine

“Sharp, biting prose distinguishes this first novel from Israeli author Mandelman… The author deftly blends a murder mystery with a nuanced examination of the intransigent Israeli-Arab conflict.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“An absorbing and captivating novel that bridges the uncomfortable political gap between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A first-rate debut novel that tackles current issues in the Arab-Israeli conflict while revealing the paradoxes of Israeli life for those who embrace the arts yet must deal with violence on a daily basis.” —Booklist, starred review

“…a literary thriller that powerfully confronts uncomfortable paradoxes around the founding of Israel. The issues it raises are as near as the headlines, and the novel seems likely to be as controversial as the play that forms its centerpiece.”—Library Journal Review

Necessary Evil and Necessary Hypocrisy: An Essay by Avner Mandelman

Necessary evil is a cost of civilized life. This is a theme that runs through much of my work, since all societies have dirty jobs that must be done, if society is to survive. But what if some truly necessary jobs--secret assassinations, blackmailing of spies’ kin, physical interrogations--are also immoral? So immoral that society cannot acknowledge their existence even to itself? Who shall do those jobs, and what should happen to the doers? This is one of the most incendiary topics an author can choose, because it forces his readers to confront their own hypocrisy. It’s also the topic John le Carré embraced.

I still remember the electric shock I felt as I encountered George Smiley for the first time, when I was still living in Israel in the 1960s. Here, finally, was reality as I witnessed it daily, both in war and in life constantly shadowed by war. No other words I’d read spoke of this terrible dilemma more eloquently and disturbingly. It was the part of life essentially unfit for print. Because I had met many Smileys, I instantly knew that this is what I had always wanted to write about but never knew it was allowed. Le Carré, however, did not shy away from the question of necessary evil, and his novels thereby transcend genre spy fiction. He succeeds, I believe, because of two virtues: First, of course, is his immense talent. But second, and not least, is his enormous sympathy both for his protagonist and for the reader.

In le Carré novels, George Smiley and his ilk are those who do the morally dirty jobs on which we all depend. From Smiley’s first appearance in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, le Carré shows, often to the reader’s discomfort, that the rest of us can afford our clean consciences only because such fallen pragmatists are ready to sacrifice their own. And this is precisely why, after the fallen have committed their immoral deeds, they must by necessity be publicly punished for them: so the rest of us can truthfully insist we would never have condoned such things. And this, in a nutshell, is the moral dilemma of modern times. Whereas warriors of old have been called to sacrifice their lives, modern warriors, besides being asked to risk death, are also asked to sacrifice their sanity and even their honor. But unlike their old-time brethren, modern warriors must sacrifice their all without even the comfort that public recognition can provide.

This, to me, is the essence of le Carré's Smiley, a modern shadow warrior "possessing the cunning of Satan and the conscience of a virgin" (A Murder of Quality). He sees reality cold and clear, and stands ready to do what must be done--and be pilloried for it--while others around him conveniently pretend it’s not necessary at all. He is a new type of modern tragic hero, whose essential tragedy lies in the fact that his soul-destroying acts cannot even be recognized, or told. But because le Carré did tell, then so, by and by, could I.

--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Product details

  • File Size : 729 KB
  • Language: : English
  • ASIN : B0036S4AUO
  • Print Length : 369 pages
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Publisher : Other Press; 1st Edition (June 23, 2010)
  • Publication Date : June 23, 2010
  • Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Lending : Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 out of 5 stars 26 ratings