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Waking Lions by [Gundar-Goshen, Ayelet]
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4.1 out of 5 stars 158 customer reviews

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Length: 353 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


"Waking Lions offers a commentary on privilege and otherness, challenging readers to confront their own blind spots and preconceptions....Trained as a clinical psychologist, Gundar-Goshen examines her characters with the same formidable gaze. Nobody emerges unscathed....Gundar-Goshen is adept at instilling emotional depth into a thriller plot, delivering the required twists and turns along with an incisive portrayal of her characters' guilt, shame and desire, fluidly shifting between their perspectives....Readers will be rewarded by [Waking Lions'] exhilarating, cinematic finale. 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."―Ayelet Tsabari, New York Times Book Review

"Vividly imagined, clever, and morally ambiguous....[Waking Lions] is 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 homeland."
Maureen Corrigan, National Public Radio's "Fresh Air"

"Waking Lions, in a propulsive translation from Hebrew by Sondra Silverston, yokes a crime story to thorny ethical issues in ways reminiscent of Donna Tartt and Richard's a rare book that can trouble your conscience while holding you in a fine state of suspense."
Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal

"If there were a literary prize for nail-biting first lines, Israeli writer Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's second novel, Waking Lions would win...brave and startling."
Financial Times UK

"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."
Boris Kachka, New York "7 Books You Need to Read This February"

"Earth-shattering."―Harper's Bazaar

"An intense moral thriller.... The twists upon twists upon twists in this story...will have readers yelping out loud. Waking Lions seems poised to catch fire."
Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

"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 that."―Joe Hartlaub, Bookreporter

"It pulled me right in. In just 18 words, a spell was cast and broken, and I couldn't wait to go on."

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times

"Gripping....twists and turns like a thriller."
Sunday Times UK

"It is a literary achievement for its page-turning exploration of inconvenient empathy and culpability. Gundar-Goshen's descriptions of pain and medicine are tender and startling, but perhaps the novel's greatest strength is the way it considers how we look at each other, the power of our gaze on strangers and on those we love. It's about seeing and being seen, about pride and power. This is a brave novel, socially aware and truly unforgettable."
Cat Acree, BookPage

"Waking Lions is immensely suspenseful. Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's alarmingly realistic and superbly written novel will leave readers wondering what they might be capable of under duress, and what makes a good person do such an awful thing--and if a marriage can survive such deception. The difficult decisions faced by Eitan, Liat and the Eritrean community are haunting."
Jessica Howard, Shelf Awareness (starred review)

"Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's novel, Waking Lions, is more than your guilty-pleasure thriller - although its twists and turns will keep you in suspense until the last page."
E. Ce Miller, Bustle

"It's not every day a writer like this comes our way."
Guardian UK

"A moment's inattention upends multiple lives in Gundar-Goshen's powerful thriller....The psychological complications match the plot ones and will please Ruth Rendell fans."―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"....a work of great subtlety which wrenches at the heart of both the family and the state, and makes for compulsive reading.... [A] sophisticated, angst-filled thriller."
Brian Martin, Spectator UK

"Mesmerizing....Smoothly alternating points of view, it uses the format of a thriller to study the almost unbridgeable gap between insider and outsider. The complex relationships between Israelis, Bedouin Arabs, and Eritreans may be unique to Israel, but that social dynamic will reverberate meaningfully with U.S. readers as well."

Booklist (starred review)

"Extraordinarily assured. Its themes are daring....Waking Lions is a startlingly achieved novel, with all the page-turning appeal of a fine-honed thriller. Gundar-Goshen gives voice to the refugee population that haunts the margins of Israeli society, probing the very hardest of the hard questions, both universal and specific to Israel, with the finesse of the brain surgeon and the wisdom of the philosopher, both of whom know only too well that there are no easy answers."
Natasha Lehrer, Jewish Quarterly

"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 Times UK

"Waking Lions has the type of seductive plot twists-a hit-and-run, a blackmailing scheme, a crime that threatens to rend a marriage-that, seemingly, only a fiction writer could concoct. But in fact, the 34-year-old writer, who lives in Israel, borrowed much of the premise of the story from real life."
Daniel Lefferts, Publishers Weekly "Writers to Watch Spring 2017"

"A literary thriller that is used as a vehicle to explore big moral issues. I loved everything about it."
Daily Mail UK

"Why should Jewish immigrants enjoy immediate citizenship in Israel, while African immigrants are detained or deported? Of course, these problems are not unique to Israel. Exactly the same arguments over immigration, on a much larger scale, are dominating the politics of Europe and the United States. It is surely for this reason that Waking Lions, the new psychological thriller by Israeli novelist Ayelet Gundar-Goshen, has broken out to become a worldwide phenomenon."―Adam Kirsch, Tablet Magazine

"An auspicious entry on the English-language scene for Israeli author Gundar-Goshen."
David Keymer, Library Journal

"[A] suspenseful morality tale."
Sarah Murdoch, Toronto Star

"In Waking Lions, the bad guys are the good guys, the victims are the perpetrators, and the ending is definitely not what you'll expect."
E. Ce Miller, Bustle "15 Books With Plot Twists You Never Saw Coming"

About the Author

Ayelet Gundar-Goshen was born in Israel in 1982 and holds an MA in clinical psychology from Tel Aviv University. She has worked for the Israeli civil rights movement, and is an award-winning screenwriter. She won Israel's prestigious Sapir Prize for best debut. Waking Lions, her first novel published in the U.S., has been translated into nine languages.

Product details

  • File Size: 3141 KB
  • Print Length: 353 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0316395412
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (February 28, 2017)
  • Publication Date: February 28, 2017
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01GZY27VE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,334 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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