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If This Is an Animal

385 pages4 hours


The novel focuses on Joseph Ben Shabbat, his last name, meaning in Hebrew, the son of Sabbath, already announcing his Jewishness to the world, and thus, his liability to be detested for it for the rest of his life. But Jojo, his nickname, would find a way to justify any hatred that had ever crossed his way or hit him in the face.
Desire, Dismay, Despair, Death and Deliverance, the novel's five parts, capture Jojo as a seller of men’s shirts with his father in Casablanca and Paris, and on his own in Tel Aviv; as a hired assassin of old Nazis, though he would have done it for free; as a broker and manager of a Forex company near Tel Aviv; as a member of a family of monsters of various degrees, save his father and one sister; as a loving husband of a singular woman and father of three children who are all involved in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem; and as a philosopher of sorts, deliberating about the human condition online and in his mind, and lamenting about "What is left of our loves?"

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