Publishers Weekly (Starred review):
“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.”
"An absorbing and captivating novel that bridges the uncomfortable political gap between the Palestinian and Israeli sides."
Booklist (Starred review):
Mandelman, who won ALA’s first Sophie Brody Medal for the story collection Talking to the Enemy (2005), has written 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.
A review from www.bookbrowse.com
"If The Debba were a building it might be an M.C. Escher-like structure with staircases doubling back onto themselves creating an awesome network of levels and plotlines. On the surface this may appear to be a murder mystery, but from page one it became clear to me that it was much more than I was expecting..."
A review from www.Jewlicious.com:
"[T]he book turned out to be a real page turner and an incredible philosophical exercise in understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict..."
Read the review...
Talking to the Enemy:
New York Times Book Review - 8/21/05
Mandelman’s stories veer from heartbreaking to hilarious, and all of them depict Israel’s desperate fragility and the horrific lengths to which its citizens must go to survive
Rabbi Jack Reimer
Source: South Florida Jewish Journal and San Diego Jewish Journal
“…I found it an overwhelming book to read, and I am happy to call it to the attention of readers.”
The Toughest Jews - Keith Gessen - New York Magazine, 7/25/05
These short stories about a Mossad (secret service) agent in Israel, illuminate the moral ambiguity of men and women trying to serve justice,
but having to commit unthinkable
to achieve their ends.
Jewish Book Week:
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has shaped the consciousness of a generation, but never before has it been brought to life in such vivid and telling prose.
Part Tim O’Brien and part Bernard Malamud, Avner Mandelman’s Talking to the Enemy ranges from boisterously entertaining tales of domestic squabbles to dark narratives from disillusioned soldiers.
Awarded the Jewish Book Award when it was published in Canada and supplemented with recent stories, Talking to the Enemy is the powerful American debut of an international favourite.
Globetrotting ex pats like Avner Mandelman are churning out the most political—and thoughtful—Jewish fiction today.
The first American printing of this award-winning collection of short stories, Talking to the Enemy captures the psychological and emotional contradictions of everyday life like no other literary work in recent memory.
“Sholom Aleichem writing Peyton Place on speed...”