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Extended Audio Sample I Pity the Poor Immigrant: A Novel, by Zachary Lazar Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Zachary Lazar Narrator: Cassandra Campbel Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In 1972, the American gangster Meyer Lansky petitions the Israeli government for citizenship. His request is denied, and he is returned to the US to stand trial. He leaves behind a mistress in Tel Aviv, a Holocaust survivor named Gila Konig.

In 2009, American journalist Hannah Groff travels to Israel to investigate the killing of an Israeli writer. She soon finds herself inside a web of violence that takes in the American and Israeli Mafias, the Biblical figure of King David, and the modern state of Israel. As she connects the dots between the murdered writer, Lansky, Gila, and her own father, Hannah becomes increasingly obsessed with the dark side of her heritage. Part crime story, part spiritual quest, I Pity the Poor Immigrant is also a novelistic consideration of Jewish identity.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Brilliant…At its heart, Lazar’s novel is the story of a handful of characters, some of them fictional, others drawn from real life, whose stories interweave across generations, unfolding like a dream in which each phantom is remade by the tragedy of Jewish history…I Pity the Poor Immigrant is all about juxtaposition. That’s where it gets its power. Extended quotations from history books sit beside newspaper articles, correspondence, psalms. The book weaves like a melody. It’s beautiful, full of passages and bursts of dialogue that break through the noise of complaint and countercomplaint that define so much of the talk about modern Israel.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Lazar juggles the elliptical and fragmented narrative effectively; he is also an excellent stylist, cleverly mimicking multiple forms. The author ambitiously makes a point about history—public and personal—and how it can lead to unexpected byways…An interesting and challenging novel.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A complex tale involving Meyer Lansky, Las Vegas, an investigative reporter, and the murder of an Israeli poet…The connections Lazar makes here are complex and artful.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A 2014 New York Times Notable Book
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About the Author

Zachary Lazar is an American novelist. His second novel, Sway, was a finalist for the Discover Great New Writers Award at Barnes & Noble and was an editor's choice at the New York Times book review. He earned an AB in Comparative Literature from Brown University and an MFA from the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Lazar’s articles and reviews have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, Newsday, BOMB Magazine, and elsewhere. In 2011, Lazar joined the faculty of Tulane University as an assistant professor of English.