Readers interested in exploring the Middle East, cultural identity, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, satire, Arab social life and the mind of Sayed Kashua will benefit from picking up his latest novel, Second Person Singular (copies discounted by 10% or 20% for members, available at the Levantine bookstore, call 323.413.2001). Acclaimed novelist Sayed Kashua, the creator of the groundbreaking Israeli sitcom, "Arab Labor," has been widely praised for his literary eye and deadpan wit. His new novel is considered internationally to be his most accomplished and entertaining work yet.
Winner of the prestigious Bernstein Award, Second Person Singular centers on an ambitious lawyer who is considered one of the best Arab criminal attorneys in Jerusalem. He has a thriving practice in the Jewish part of town, a large house, speaks perfect Hebrew, and is in love with his wife and two young children. One day at a used bookstore, he picks up a copy of Tolstoy's The Kreutzer Sonata, and inside finds a love letter, in Arabic, in his wife's handwriting. Consumed with suspicion and jealousy, the lawyer hunts for the book's previous owner-a man named Yonatan-pulling at the strings that hold all their lives together.
With enormous emotional power, and a keen sense of the absurd, Kashua spins a tale of love and betrayal, honesty and artifice, and questions whether it is possible to truly reinvent ourselves. Second Person Singular is a deliciously complex psychological mystery and a searing dissection of the individuals that comprise a divided society. Get your copy at the Levantine bookstore at a discount (members receive additional discount).
February BookGroup, meeting Wed., Feb. 27, selection is Geert Mak's The Bridge, a non-fiction exploring of east and west...Istanbul's Galata Bridge has spanned the Golden Horn since the sixth century AD, connecting the old city with the more Western districts to the north. But the bridge is a city in itself, peopled by merchants and petty thieves, tourists and fishermen, and at the same time a microcosmic reflection of Turkey as the link between Asia and Europe. Geert Mak introduces us to the woman who sells lottery tickets, the cigarette vendors, and the best pickpockets in Europe. He tells us about the pride of the cobbler and the tea-seller's homesickness. And he describes the role of honor in Turkish culture, the temptations of fundamentalism and violence, and the urge to survive, even in the face of despair. These stories of the bridge's denizens are interwoven with vignettes illuminating moments in the history of Istanbul and Turkey and shedding light on Turkey's relationship with Europe and the West, the Armenian question, the migration from the Turkish countryside to the city, and the demise of the Ottoman Empire.