Cover image for The betrayers
The betrayers
Bezmozgis, David, 1973- , author.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Hachette Audio, [2014]

[Ashland, Oregon] : Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Physical Description:
6 audio discs (6.5 hr.) : digital, CD audio ; 4 3/4 in.
This book gives us one fraught, momentous day in the life of Baruch Kotler, a Soviet Jewish dissident who now finds himself a disgraced Israeli politician. When he refuses to back down from a contrary but principled stand regarding the settlements in the West Bank, his political opponents expose his affair with a mistress decades his junior, and the besieged couple escapes to Yalta, the faded Crimean resort of Kotler's youth. There, shockingly, Kotler comes face-to-face with the former friend whose denunciation sent him to the Gulag almost forty years earlier. In a whirling twenty-four hours, Kotler must face the ultimate reckoning, both with those who have betrayed him and with those whom he has betrayed, including a teenage daughter, a son facing his own moral dilemma in the Israeli army, and the wife who once campaigned to secure his freedom and stood by him through so much. Stubborn, wry, and self-knowing, Baruch Kotler is an aging man grasping for a final passion, and he is drawn inexorably into a crucible that is both personal and biblical in scope.
General Note:
Title from web page.

Compact discs.
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Audiobook on CD


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Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Bezmozgis (The Free World, 2011) takes a more tightly focused approach than in his previous kinetic works in this taut, vigorous, and fast-flowing tale of an unexpected encounter between two old enemies in Crimea. After arousing outrage by opposing the prime minister's stand on the West Bank settlements, Baruch Kotler, a famous Soviet dissident turned prominent Israeli politician, flees Tel Aviv, his longtime marriage, his whip-smart daughter, and his son, who is experiencing an intense moral quandary over his service in the Israeli army. To add to the scandal, Baruch is accompanied by his much younger lover; then their search for lodging in Yalta delivers them to the home of Tankilevich, the man who betrayed Baruch to the KGB. Bezmozgis tracks back and forth between Kotler and Tankilevich's radically different lives, which encompass the fear and misery of the Soviet era, and the sorrows, tenacity, and struggles of Israel. Bezmozgis' dialogue has the ringing clarity of a play, while his characters' churning thoughts address the dilemmas of marriage and family relationships and the hidden predicaments that make judging others such a perilous undertaking. Nearly everyone is a betrayer in some way in Bezmozgis' wise, transfixing, and annealing novel of humor and pathos in which today's personal and political paradoxes embody the archetypal conflicts of humankind.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2014 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Bezmozgis's second novel (after The Free World) is a beautifully written exploration of the role fate can play in the finer distinctions between a heroic life and a villainous one. Baruch Kotler is a Soviet Jewish dissident who, after he is freed from prison, becomes a celebrated Israeli politician. When scandal forces Kotler to flee Israel for the Crimea with his mistress, Leora, a coincidence leads him to the door of Chaim Tankilevich, the man whose testimony led to Kotler's imprisonment in a Russian jail 39 years ago. With all the makings of a standard revenge tale and told in Bezmogis's trademark direct prose, the story resists oversimplification. Kotler and Tankilevich, now advanced in years, both suffered after Kotler's trial, and, though the trial is well behind them, both are now desperate in different ways. As the two men struggle with their past, Kotler contends with the scandal he fled, the family he left behind, and his son, Benzion, who aspires to be a dissident despite his now age-tempered father's advice against it. Though the action is fixed largely in one location, Bezmozgis's novel feels vast, its pages heavy with the complicated debts we owe one another, which are impossible to leave behind. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

When Baruch Kolter's illicit affair is exposed, the disgraced Israeli politician flees with his young mistress to a Crimean resort town. When he runs into the former friend who denounced him to the KGB 40 years earlier, he must reconcile with his betrayer, his wife, his son, and his own poor choices. While -Bezmozgis wrote about Soviet Jewish immigrants in North America in previous works (Natasha; The Free World), this novel, the 2014 National Jewish Book Award winner for fiction, explores the influence that this community has had in Israel. (LJ 8/14) © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.