Finalist for the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize
A disgraced Israeli politician comes face to face with the man who denounced him to the KGB and sent him to the Gulag
These incandescent pages give us one momentous day in the life of Baruch Kotler, a disgraced Israeli politician. When he refuses to back down from a contrary but principled stand regarding the West Bank settlements, his political opponents expose his affair with a mistress decades his junior. He and the fierce young Leora flee the scandal for Yalta, where he comes face to face with the former friend who denounced him to the KGB almost forty years earlier.
In a mere 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 ethical dilemmas in the Israeli army, and the wife who stood by his side through so much.
In prose that is elegant, sly, precise and devastating, David Bezmozgis has rendered a story for the ages, an inquest into the nature of fate and consequence, love and forgiveness.
About the author
David Bezmozgis moved from Latvia to Canada at the age of six. He studied English literature at McGill University and film at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. Natasha and Other Stories, his debut collection, won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (Canada and Caribbean Region), the Canadian Jewish Book Award and the Toronto Book Award; was a finalist for a Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction and CBC’s Canada Reads; and has been made into a feature film. His first novel, The Free World, won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award and was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction and the Trillium Book Award. His second novel, The Betrayers, won the National Jewish Book Award and was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. In 2010, Bezmozgis was named one of The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 writers. He lives in Toronto.
“David Bezmozgis has a dazzling talent, is the possessor of that rarest of skills—the ability to create fiction which is intensely serious but which also vividly encompasses the absurdity of life.” — Scotiabank Giller Prize Jury
“The Betrayers can serve as a master class for fledgling writers, and an inspiration for any reader trying to figure out how novels will be saved.” — The New York Times Book Review
“The Betrayers is an endlessly fascinating exchange of philosophical views and a character study of great depth and nuance, made all the more effective because of its compact structure and swift pace of narrative.” — National Post
“A novel of compulsive dramatic power, The Betrayers feels as urgent as the news and as eternal as scripture. David Bezmozgis weds precise, perfect craft with a generous moral vision of the heart, and head, in ceaseless conflict.” — Charles Foran