THE SLAUGHTERMAN'S DAUGHTER
Fiction, MacLehose Press, 2020
The townsfolk of Motal, an isolated, godforsaken town in the Pale of Settlement, are shocked when Fanny Keismann - devoted wife, mother of five, and celebrated cheese-maker - leaves her home at two hours past midnight and vanishes into the night.
True, the husbands of Motal have been vanishing for years, but a wife and mother? Whoever heard of such a thing. What on earth possessed her?
Could it have anything to do with Fanny's missing brother-in-law, who left her sister almost a year ago and ran away to Minsk, abandoning their family to destitution and despair?
Or could Fanny have been lured away by Zizek Breshov, the mysterious ferryman on the Yaselda river, who, in a strange twist of events, seems to have disappeared on the same night?
Surely there can be no link between Fanny and the peculiar roadside murder on the way to Telekhany, which has left Colonel Piotr Novak, head of the Russian secret police, scratching his head. Surely a crime like that could have nothing to do with Fanny Keismann, however the people of Motal might mutter about her reputation as a vilde chaya, a wild animal . . .
Canada: House of Anansi; Croatia: Petrine knjige; Czech: Albatross; France: Gallimard; Germany: Unionsverlag; Holland: De Geus; Hungary: IPC Books; Israel: Keter; Italy: Neri Pozza; Lithuania: Balto; Mexico: Planeta Mexico; Poland: Poznanskie; Romania: Humanitas; Spain: Navona; Serbia: Dereta; UK: MacLehose Press; US: Pantheon/Schocken
With La Vengence de Fanny, the novelist Yaniv Iczkovits resurrects and renews the classic Jewish novel, which has produced masterpieces, notably those by S.J. Agnon. The mural teems with a vitality and multitude of points of view, characters, tragic or burlesque situations that are halfway between the Fielding’s Tom Jones and Gogol’s Dead Souls. Iczkovitz’s heroes are not uprooted Luftmenschen or mystics indifferent to the world, but are like the Jews at the end of the 19th century who were at risk of being rounded up and conscripted into the miseries and depredations of the Tsar’s army. All of the characters here are in a struggle with the collapsing Russian Empire. This is a saga of breathless energy. It can be read as a fable rich with allusions to the present, but La Vengeance de Fanny never loses its credibility as a historical portrait. --Le Monde
With boundless imagination and a vibrant style, Yaniv Iczkovits creates a colorful family drama that spins nineteenth century Russia out of control, and he delivers a heroine of unforgettable grit. Iczkovits wields his pen with wit and panache. A remarkable and evocative read -- David Grossman
A story of great beauty and surprise. A necessary antidote for our times -- Gary Shteyngart
The Slaughterman's Daughter is a miraculous patchwork-quilt of individual stories within stories told by different voices through which Fanny, the Belorussian Jewish slaughterman's daughter, cuts with her butcher's knife in search of justice. That quest for justice is the master story: a feminist picaresque set in a landscape of visionary and intimate historical and physical detail -- George Szirtes
Totally compulsive reading -- Rosemary Sullivan
With the sweeping grandeur of a Russian epic and the sly, sometimes bawdy humour of the Yiddish greats, The Slaughterman's Daughter is a magnificent triumph -- Bram Presser, author of The Book of Dirt
What begins as a small family drama explodes in every possible direction in its virtuosity. -- Haaretz Book Review
A novel exploding with imagination and talent, and reflecting a familiarity with both the prosaic nitty-gritty that characterized life in the Jewish Pale of Settlement, and the sweeping historical forces that affected it . . . Fresh and original . . . Iczkovits [is] served by a superb translator.” —David B. Green, Haaretz English
An adventure story with few like it in modern Hebrew literature . . . a simply outstanding novel -- Yaron London, Walla
A major novel that zigzags between characters and plots, between history and psychology, rooted in a brilliant narrative -- Gili Izikovich, Haaretz