The Slaughterman’s Daughter
Yaniv Iczkovits, Orr Scharf
SHORTLISTED FOR THE WINGATE PRIZE 2021
SUNDAY TIMES “MUST READS” PICK
KIRKUS REVIEWS “10 BOOKS TO LOOK FOR IN 2021” PICK
“Boundless imagination and a vibrant style . . . a heroine of unforgettable grit” DAVID GROSSMAN
“A story of great beauty and surprise” GARY SHTEYNGART
The townsfolk of Motal, an isolated, godforsaken town in the Pale of Settlement, are shocked when Fanny Keismann – devoted wife, mother of five, and celebrated cheese-maker – leaves her home at two hours past midnight and vanishes into the night.
True, the husbands of Motal have been vanishing for years, but a wife and mother? Whoever heard of such a thing. What on earth possessed her?
Could it have anything to do with Fanny’s missing brother-in-law, who left her sister almost a year ago and ran away to Minsk, abandoning their family to destitution and despair?
Or could Fanny have been lured away by Zizek Breshov, the mysterious ferryman on the Yaselda river, who, in a strange twist of events, seems to have disappeared on the same night?
Surely there can be no link between Fanny and the peculiar roadside murder on the way to Minsk, which has left Colonel Piotr Novak, head of the Russian secret police, scratching his head. Surely a crime like that could have nothing to do with Fanny Keismann, however the people of Motal might mutter about her reputation as a vilde chaya, a wild animal . . .
Translated from the Hebrew by Orr Scharf
Occasionally a book comes along so fresh, strange, and original that it seems peerless, utterly unprecedented. This is one of those books. Iczkovits is a superb talent, and this novel is a resounding success * Kirkus Reviews (starred review) * A born storyteller . . . Iczkovits is clearly a talent to watch and The Slaughterman's Daughter is the place to start -- David Herman * Jewish Chronicle * Yaniv Iczkovits' brilliant, sweeping novel is set in czarist Russia during the late nineteenth century, but feels highly relevant and resonant today . . . filled with exquisitely drawn characters . . . bold and provocative * TLS * A narrative full of invention and surprises . . . Iczkovits mixes real history, fable and the products of his imagination into an intoxicating, thoroughly enjoyable brew * Sunday Times * "An extraordinarily vivid portrayal of life in the Pale of Settlement, an area of the pre-revolutionary Russian Empire where Jews were allowed, begrudgingly, to live" * The Times * Iczkovits' talent is evident * Maariv, on ADAM AND SOPHIE * The literary expectations raised by Yaniv Iczkovits' first novel have now been fulfilled in his second -- Yedioth Ahronoth, on ADAM AND SOPHIE A major, dizzying novel * Haaretz, on ADAM AND SOPHIE * We should keep an eye on Iczkovits. He is an amazing talent who will be talked about for a long time to come -- Dorit Rabinyan * Time Out, on ADAM AND SOPHIE * This is a perfect, if rare, example of a contemporary Israeli narrative that is in living dialogue with the literary and historical past, drawing on it and constructing an utterly original, independent artistic structure on its foundations ... Iczkovits has created a sensual, richly vibrant Jewish world devoid of stereotypes, with flesh-and-blood characters to whom nothing human is foreign. There is no doubt. Iczkovits has pulled this off with wondrous success, yielding a virtuosic novel -- Professor Avner Holzman, Maya Sela, Amir Lev, Eldad Ziv, Netta Gurevitch * Judges' Committee of the Ramat Gan Prizze for Literary Excellence * In The Slaughterman's Daughter, Iczkovits presents an original take on the historical novel which recreates - with a shrewd but affectionate look back at a lost world - Jewish life in the Russian empire at the end of the nineteenth century. The story's plot, characters, narrative style and the narrator's perspective are characterized by historical realism but also an element of fantasy. It is also worth noting the novel's brilliant insights, its winning humour, and especially the highly effective and readable blend of our vibrant, supple modern Hebrew and a distant, forgotten way of life. This is a novel of unquestionable uniqueness -- Dr. David Weinfeld, Dr. Shira Stav, Bilhah ben Eliyahu * Judges' Committee of the Agnon Prize * A major novel that zigzags between characters and plots, between history and psychology, rooted in a brilliant narrative -- Gili Izikovich * Haaretz Gallery * An adventure story with few like it in modern Hebrew literature . . . a simply outstanding novel -- Yaron London * Walla * What begins as a small family drama explodes in every possible direction in its virtuosity * Haaretz * With the sweeping grandeur of a Russian epic and the sly, sometimes bawdy humour of the Yiddish greats, The Slaughterman's Daughter is a magnificent triumph -- Bram Presser, author of The Book of Dirt Totally compulsive reading -- Rosemary Sullivan The Slaughterman's Daughter is a miraculous patchwork-quilt of individual stories within stories told by different voices through which Fanny, the Belorussian Jewish slaughterman's daughter, cuts with her butcher's knife in search of justice. That quest for justice is the master story: a feminist picaresque set in a landscape of visionary and intimate historical and physical detail -- George Szirtes A story of great beauty and surprise. A necessary antidote for our times -- Gary Shteyngart With boundless imagination and a vibrant style, Yaniv Iczkovits creates a colorful family drama that spins nineteenth century Russia out of control, and he delivers a heroine of unforgettable grit. Iczkovits wields his pen with wit and panache. A remarkable and evocative read -- David Grossman
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