Yishai Sarid
  • Review
By – August 25, 2011
Halfway through this tight­ly coiled espi­onage tale a Mossad oper­a­tive asks a young man, What will save you?” That ques­tion hov­ers over every­one we meet: a once promis­ing nov­el­ist with writer’s block, a ter­mi­nal­ly ill Pales­tin­ian poet, a drug-addict­ed youth, and the secu­ri­ty-ser­vice agent him­self.

The unnamed nar­ra­tor spe­cial­izes in extract­ing infor­ma­tion from Pales­tini­ans through intim­i­da­tion and tor­ture. As he immers­es him­self in his work, he grad­u­al­ly los­es touch with his wife and young child and ulti­mate­ly los­es con­trol of him­self in his inter­ro­ga­tions, with lethal con­se­quences for one pris­on­er.

Ordered not to return to that job, he works hard­er on a big­ger assign­ment, gath­er­ing intel­li­gence for a tar­get­ed assas­si­na­tion. Its com­plex­i­ties enmesh him in the lives of the three peo­ple on whom his suc­cess depends, and those rela­tion­ships grad­u­al­ly awak­en dor­mant feel­ings in him.

Limas­sol, a sea­side resort city in Cyprus, is the scene of the sus­pense­ful cli­max, which hangs on the Mossad man’s stark choice: whether to ful­fill his pro­fes­sion­al ambi­tions or to recov­er his com­pas­sion and integri­ty. Yishai Sarid’s fast mov­ing spy sto­ry is ulti­mate­ly a moral dra­ma, and his mov­ing achieve­ment is to find for each of his char­ac­ters the unex­pect­ed pos­si­bil­i­ty of redemption.

Discussion Questions