"Kashua's parable deftly examines universal themes of isolation vs. assimilation. A worthy contribution to the increasingly popular works coming out of the Middle East." --"Library Journal"
"This novel illuminates just how fluid identity can be, even--or especially--amid the Arab-Israeli tension of Jerusalem . . . A compelling two-sided narrative . . . [Kashua] has sharp insights on the assumptions made about race, religion, ethnicity, and class that shape Israeli identity." --"Publishers Weekly"
"[Kashua's] dry wit shines . . . with each of the main characters offering windows into the prejudices and longings of Arabs and Jews . . . The themes are universal in a world in which every culture, it seems, has an 'other' against which to play out prejudice, and feelings of supremacy." --"Los Angeles Times"
"At a time when Israeli attitudes toward Arabs seem to be hardening, Kashua's popularity is especially noteworthy . . . Kashua's protagonists struggle, often comically, with the tension of being both citizens of Israel and the kin of Israel's enemies. They usually end up encountering ignorance and bigotry on both sides of the divide, making his narratives more nuanced than some of the other Arabs writing about the conflict." --"Newsweek"
"Powerful . . . Kashua shows us the underside of success, with clear-eyed insight into an Israeli society that is becoming ever more tainted by discrimination based on class and money." --"Haaretz"
"Kashua's writing and insight serve to translate several different, and conflicting, realities at once . . . Kashua's work captures the unique and often painful situation of Israel's Arab citizens, while also opening a window for the non-Arab reader to better understand this dilemma." --"Tablet"
""Second Person Singular" triumphs as a tragicomedy composed of two suspensefully intertwined stories tracing the lives of two unnamed Arab protagonists, illuminating their fraught condition as insiders ands
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.
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