Second Person Singular

A Novel
Product Number: EB00641051
Released: Mar 11, 2016
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9780802194640
Publisher: Grove Atlantic
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A powerful, gripping, award-winning novel of love and betrayal, honesty and artifice, from one of the most daring voices of the Middle East. A successful Arab criminal attorney and a social worker-turned-artist find their lives intersecting under the most curious of circumstances. The lawyer has a thriving practice in the Jewish part of Jerusalem, a large house, a Mercedes, speaks both Arabic and Hebrew, and is in love with his wife and two young children. In an effort to uphold his image as a sophisticated Israeli Arab, he often makes weekly visits to a local bookstore to pick up popular novels. On one fateful evening, he decides to buy a used copy of Tolstoy's The Kreutzer Sonata, a book his wife once recommended. To his surprise, inside he finds a small white note, a love letter, in Arabic, in her handwriting. Consumed with suspicion and jealousy, the lawyer slips into a blind rage over the presumed betrayal. He first considers murder, revenge, then divorce, but when the initial sting of humiliation and hurt dissipates, he decides to hunt for the book's previous owner-a man named Yonatan, a man who is not easy to track down, whose identity is more complex than imagined, and whose life is more closely aligned with his own than expected. In the process of dredging up old ghosts and secrets, the lawyer tears the string that holds all of their lives together. Winner of the 2011 Bernstein Prize, Second Person Singular is "part comedy of manners, part psychological mystery" (The Boston Globe), a deliciously complex parable that "deftly examines universal themes of isolation vs. assimilation" (Library Journal) and offers "sharp insights on the assumptions made about race, religion, ethnicity, and class that shape Israeli identity" (Publishers Weekly). "[Kashua's] dry wit shines." -Los Angeles Times "Kashua's protagonists struggle, often comically . . . making his narratives more nuanced than some of the other Arabs writing about the conflict" -Newsweek "Sayed Kashua is a brilliant, funny, humane writer who effortlessly overturns any and all preconceptions about the Middle East. God, I love him." -Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story

Author(s): Sayed Kashua
Original Publish Date: Apr 03, 2012

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