"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." (Francis Bacon)

Saturday, July 22, 2017

City of Secrets

TITLE: City of Secrets
AUTHOR: Stewart O'Nan

Brand is a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, now working as a cab driver in Palestine and using the name Jossi. Haunted by his time as a Nazi prisoner and feeling guilt as a survivor when everyone he loved had been killed in the Holocaust, Jossi is also part of a cell working for an independent Israeli state, committing terror acts against the British Mandate, and in love, perhaps, with a woman prostituting herself for the cause. As the missions grow more explosive, Brand's conflict grows, too.

I haven't read much about this historic time and place -- it's been decades since I read Leon Uris' Exodus -- and I was quickly drawn into the story, thanks to Brand's conflicted point of view and O'Nan's clear, precise prose. O'Nan is one of those authors who says so much with few words. This is a short novel, under 200 pages in trade paperback, but it packs an emotional punch.