Saturday, August 16, 2014 |
Set amid the political turmoil of Crimea, The Betrayers is a vivid, emotionally intense day-in-the-life story of an embattled Israeli politician forced to flee to Yalta after past mistakes resurface to haunt him. During a period of 24 hours, Baruch Kotler must not only contend with betrayals against him, he must come to terms with his own indiscretions - indiscretions that have hurt those once closest to him.
From the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize jury:
"The extraordinary feat of David Bezmozgis's fine novel is to have captured in one day a whole universe of betrayal and morality. There are two betrayers in the story; the first is Baruch Kotler, an elderly and well-known figure in Israel, who has betrayed his wife by taking his much younger lover on a sentimental journey to Crimea. He was betrayed in Russia forty years ago by a KGB agent, himself Jewish. David Bezmozgis has a dazzling talent, is the possessor of that rarest of skills - the ability to create fiction which is intensely serious but which also vividly encompasses the absurdity and comedy of life."
A thousand kilometers away, while the next great drama of his life was unfolding and God was banging His gavel to shake the Judaean hills, Baruch Kotler sat in the lobby of a Yalta hotel and watched his young mistress berate the hotel clerk - a pretty blond girl, who endured the assault with a stiff, mulish expression. A particularly Russian sort of expression, Kotler thought. The morose, disdainful expression with which the Russians had greeted their various invaders. An expression that denoted an irrational, mortal refusal to capitulate - the pride and bane of the Russian people.
From The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis. Copyright © David Bezmozgis , 2014. Published by HarperCollins Canada.