Lies, First Person
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Lies, First Person

3.88 (87 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

From the 2010 winner of the Best Translated Book Award comes a harrowing, controversial novel about a woman's revenge, Jewish identity, and how to talk about Adolf Hitler in today's world.

Elinor's comfortable life--popular newspaper column, stable marriage, well-adjusted kids--is totally upended when she finds out that her estranged uncle is coming to Jerusalem to give a speech asking forgiveness for his decades-old book, Hitler, First Person.

A shocking novel that galvanized the Jewish diaspora, Hitler, First Person was Aaron Gotthilf's attempt to understand--and explain--what it would have been like to be Hitler. As if that wasn't disturbing enough, while writing this controversial novel, Gotthilf stayed in Elinor's parent's house and sexually assaulted her "slow" sister.

In the time leading up to Gotthilf's visit, Elinor will relive the reprehensible events of that time so long ago, over and over, compulsively, while building up the courage--and plan--to avenge her sister in the most conclusive way possible: by murdering Gotthilf, her own personal Hilter.

Along the way to the inevitable confrontation, Gail Hareven uses an obsessive, circular writing style to raise questions about Elinor's mental state, which in turn makes the reader question the veracity of the supposed memoir that they're reading. Is it possible that Elinor is following in her uncle's writerly footpaths, using a first-person narrative to manipulate the reader into forgiving a horrific crime?

Gail Hareven is the author of eleven novels, including The Confessions of Noa Weber, which won both the Sapir Prize for Literature and the Best Translated Book Award.

Dalya Bilu is the translator of A.B.Yehoshua, Aharon Appelfeld, and many others. She has been awarded numerous prizes, including the Israel Culture and Education Ministry Prize for Translation, and the Jewish Book Council Award for Hebrew-English Translation. She lives in Jerusalem.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 380 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 22.86mm | 450g
  • Rochester, NY, United States
  • English
  • Translation
  • 1940953030
  • 9781940953038
  • 1,594,217

Review quote

"There are books that make us feel intensely and others that make us think deeply; one that does both is Gail Hareven's opalescent and psychologically complex eleventh novel Lies, First Person, which is only the second (The Confessions of Noa Weber) of her 13 books for adults to be published in English in Dalya Bilu's fine translation. [. . .] Kudos to university press Open Letter Books for bringing us this multifaceted book that rewards rereading."--David Cooper, New York Journal of Books "Hareven's brilliant writing is simply irresistible as she traces two sisters' emotional journeys through recovering from a childhood trauma."--Foreword Reviews Lies, First Person isn't a tragedy. As Elinor becomes the woman who hates, she can't say that she hates it ... It's a bracing and, refreshingly, not very American idea, as is the novel's refusal to renounce all violence as a false, or at least costly, remedy. (No novel of hate has ended so cheerfully.)"--Boris Fishman, The New York Times "An Israeli woman plots revenge against the relative who raped her sister--and wrote an imagined autobiography of Adolf Hitler besides--in a coruscating novel about faith and family [...]A rich and harrowing novel with plenty to say about religion and authorship."--Kirkus Reviews "Hareven has written a complex, humane novel that is not easily forgotten. It shakes your complacency - as it should." --Jessa Crispin, The Guardian "An intriguing work that gets close to the mind of an unrepentant criminal. An often tense and sometimes funny book, Hareven both thrills and leaves her readers with serious conundrums." --Newcity Lit
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About Gail Hareven

Gail Hareven is the author of eleven novels, including The Confessions of Noa Weber, which won both the Sapir Prize for Literature and the Best Translated Book Award.

Dalya Bilu is the translator of A.B.Yehoshua, Aharon Appelfeld, and many others. She has been awarded numerous prizes, including the Israel Culture and Education Ministry Prize for Translation, and the Jewish Book Council Award for Hebrew-English Translation. She lives in Jerusalem.
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Rating details

87 ratings
3.88 out of 5 stars
5 31% (27)
4 36% (31)
3 25% (22)
2 7% (6)
1 1% (1)
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