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Download The Debba Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Debba, by Avner Mandelman Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (95 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Avner Mandelman Narrator: George Guidall Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In Middle East lore, the Debba is a mythical Arab hyena that can turn into a man who lures Jewish children away from their families to teach them the language of the beasts. To the Arabs, he is a heroic national symbol; to the Jews, he is a terrorist. To David Starkman, “The Debba” is a controversial play, written by his father the war hero, and performed only once, in Haifa in 1946, causing a massive riot. By 1977, David is living in Canada, having renounced his Israeli citizenship and withdrawn from his family, haunted by persistent nightmares about his catastrophic turn as a military assassin for Israel. Upon learning of his father’s gruesome murder, he returns to his homeland for what he hopes will be the final time.

Back in Israel, David discovers that his father’s will demands he stage the play within forty-five days of his death, and though he is reluctant to comply, the authorities’ evident relief at his refusal convinces him he must persevere. With his father’s legacy on the line, David is forced to reimmerse himself in a life he thought he’d escaped for good.

Disguised as a breathtaking thriller, Avner Mandelman’s novel reveals Israel’s double soul, its inherent paradoxes, and its taste for both art and violence. The riddle of the Debba—the myth, the play, and the novel— is nothing less than the tangled riddle of Israel itself.

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Quotes & Awards

  • The author deftly blends a murder mystery with a nuanced examination of the intransigent Israeli-Arab conflict. Publishers Weekly, starred review

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Blubeari | 2/9/2014

    " I honestly don't know why, but I just couldn't get into this book. I got maybe halfway through before giving up. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Karen | 1/12/2014

    " It was a new perspective of a long history of the middle east but somehow the conflict of this character didn't ring convincing to me. I would recommend it however, as it kept me interested enough to read through quickly. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Elli | 1/11/2014

    " Really enjoyed this; in fact had trouble putting it down. More on the complications of relationships with long term effects between Jewish (both eastern and western) with each other and the Arab residents and the difficulties in living there. Very complicated, but still very much there. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Garryvivianne | 12/27/2013

    " I kinda liked it & kinda not. I do not understand why this play was such a big deal. But I do like the way it was set up & eventually ended. "

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About the Author

Avner Mandelman was born in Israel and served in the Israeli Air Force during the Six-Day War. His written several story collections, including one chosen by Kirkus Reviews as one of the twenty-five best books of 2005; the same collection was the first recipient of the Sophie Brody Medal for outstanding achievement in Jewish literature. Several of his stories have also won awards in various countries, including being selected for the Pushcart Prize and the Journey Prize. His short story, “Pity” was selected for inclusion in The Best American Short Stories 1995.