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  • MacLehose Press
  • MacLehose Press
  • Maclehose Press

The Slaughterman's Daughter: The Avenging of Mende Speismann by the Hand of her Sister Fanny

Yaniv Iczkovits

5 Reviews

Rated 0

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Historical fiction, Fiction in translation

An epic historical adventure novel - 'Fiddler on the Roof' meets Tarantino - set in the Pale of Settlement during the final years of the Russian Empire.

The townsfolk of Motal, a small town in the Pale of Settlement where nothing extraordinary ever happens, are shocked when Fanny Keismann - devoted wife, mother of five and celebrated cheese farmer - 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 his 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 Telekhany, which has left Colonel Piotr Novak, head of the Russian secret police, scratching his head. Surely that could have nothing to do with Fanny Keismann, whatever her past, whatever her reputation as a wilde chayeh, a wild beast . . .

Surely not.

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Praise for The Slaughterman's Daughter: The Avenging of Mende Speismann by the Hand of her Sister Fanny

  • What begins as a small family drama explodes in every possible direction in its virtuosity - Haaretz

  • An adventure story with few like it in modern Hebrew literature . . . a simply outstanding novel - Walla

  • A major novel that zigzags between characters and plots, between history and psychology, rooted in a brilliant narrative - Haaretz Gallery

  • In A Prayer After Midnight, 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 humor, 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 - Judges Committee of the Agnon Prize

  • 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 - Judges Committee of the Ramat Gan Prizze for Literary Excellence

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Yaniv Iczkovits

Yaniv Iczkovits is an award-winning author and was formerly a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Tel Aviv. His previous works include Pulse (2007), Adam and Sophie (2009) and Wittgenstein's Ethical Thought, based on his academic work, in 2012. In 2002, he was an inaugural signatory of the "combatants' letter", in which hundreds of Israeli soldiers affirmed their refusal to fight in the occupied territories, and he spent a month in military prison as a result. The Slaughterman's Daughter is his third novel and won the Ramat Gan Prize and the Agnon Prize in 2015, the first time the prize had been awarded in ten years. It was also shortlisted for the Sapir Prize. Yaniv Iczkovits previously held a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University and lives with his family in Tel Aviv.

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