To some extent Nathan Englander’s Iraeli-Palestinian spy novel is an homage to Ariel Sharon. As a spy novel it is more a movie version than one that reflects reality. The novel aims to entertain and in that it is successful. It presents a balanced approach, although it is sometimes from General Sharon’s point of view as he exists in a coma. His massacre at Qibya and his success and rashness are not overlooked.
The principle character is Prisoner Z. He is an American Jew who Sharon has secretly locked away after the Prisoner’s moral balance made him a traitor to Israel. It is the moral difficulty of those at the center of the dispute to try to exist and balance the extremes on each side of the dispute that is at the heart of the novel. This balance is sought through a personal relationship between an ex-Israeli operative and a Palestinian operative. It is a typical love theme found in literature.
I like Mr. Englander’s easy writing style and may search out his other works for pleasure reading. He is a well-known author having been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and a recipient of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award.