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Eitan Enoch, who goes by the nickname Croc, is a fairly ordinary thirty three year old man living in Tel Aviv with a super anxious girlfriend, Duchi, and parents who moved back to America But now, something unordinary is happening to Croc he survives a suicide bomb attack And then gunfire on the highway to Jerusalem And then another suicide bomber s attack in a cafe while he is having coffee with the girlfriend of a man who died in the first attack In the space of just a few days, Eitan bec Eitan Enoch, who goes by the nickname Croc, is a fairly ordinary thirty three year old man living in Tel Aviv with a super anxious girlfriend, Duchi, and parents who moved back to America But now, something unordinary is happening to Croc he survives a suicide bomb attack And then gunfire on the highway to Jerusalem And then another suicide bomber s attack in a cafe while he is having coffee with the girlfriend of a man who died in the first attack In the space of just a few days, Eitan becomes a bit of a local celebrity The man they couldn t kill A symbol for Jewish resistance, survival, persecution and God s favour.In Palestine, the brothers behind all three attacks plot their fourth Fahmi is still just a teenager but already he has been taught how to make bombs, while his older brother Bilahl organises everything, plots and plans and tries to make Fahmi to be as fundamentally zealous as he is Their father wants Fahmi to go to university, to prosper and be happy and not become one of these super religious nuts But the power of Fahmi s brother is greater than his father s Now he lies in a coma in a Jewish hospital, reliving the events that led to this point in his life and how he came to meet the Croc , like him even, while his brother plans a way for Fahmi to kill him.Eitan s focus is elsewhere He isn t terribly concerned about being a target of Palestinian anger and righteousness He s fallen in love with the girlfriend of a man who stood next to him on the bus, the same bus that blew up not long after Eitan got off it He s become immersed in the puzzle of this man, Giora Guetta, and what he was doing in Tel Aviv that day, who he was meeting and why The clues that will lead him to the answers lie in Giora s palm pilot, a device that escaped destruction by being propelled from the bus and into a tree But it is only with the help of a young Palestinian man whom he befriends that he will understand any of it.Almost Dead is partly meant as a comedy, according to the back of the book, but if it is one it is decidedly a black comedy Told in chapters that alternate between Eitan s first person narrative and Fahmi s first person narrative, it has moments of irony but is actually as serious and heavy hearted as it sounds, especially the Palestinian half I didn t read it as a comedy It was far too sad for that.One of the novels strengths is how it contrasts the lives of Palestinians with that of middle class Jews living in Israel It wasn t flattering, though it does always make me feel some hope that so many Israelites such as the author are sympathetic and understanding and possibly angry about the occupation of Palestine and what the Palestinians are forced to endure simply for living on land Israel s government wants Obviously it s not quite that simple, and yet it is Fahmi s chapters were heart wrenching and complex and tragic You can see how he got to where he was, you can see how stuck he is, and you can see how hard it is, once you re on a trajectory, to get off it In contrast, Eitan s life isfamiliar, even if he lives in the midst of a war zone He lives in an apartment with his girlfriend, Duchi, whom he doesn t seem to love all that much He works for a company whose business is to find ways to save other companies time, and his reaction to surviving three separate attacks is one of stunned disbelief, shock, numbness, ambivalence, unconcern, deep concern, and a determination to distract himself completely with some strange, random mystery that really has nothing to do with him He doesn t feel anger and doesn t even seem to be afraid Like many middle class people, he struggles to have an opinion one way or the other, recognising that people on both sides are angry and hurt, and unwilling to draw either side s anger or hurt by expressing an opinion as he noticeably fails to do on the talk show he s invited to be in He s been living in Israel a long time, but doesn t seem to have spent any amount of time thinking about the issues that surround him The story is a little slow at times that is to say, the middle is a bit slow but it starts strong and picks up the pacetowards the end, where things start to really converge I didn t find Eitan to be all that interesting a character, in the grand scheme of things, especially in light of Fahmi spivotal story Yet, I couldn t say that one isimportant than the other They were both realistic, and both represented a truth about Israel and Palestine not the only truth, but one of many It is social commentary, and a critique of the situation, without proselytising or moralising it gently probes the grey areas, the individual humans who help make up a vast and complicated tapestry of lives lived and lost and decisions made that can t be undone Eitan s story seems like a distraction from this bigger story, but when the answers come in it readslike an analogy, or a fable, or just a fuck up in the midst of a bigger fuck up A my god the world is a messy, screwed up place of unpredictability It both shakes its head at that and embraces it I couldn t, in the end, decide what I thought, because it seemed to me that there was something going on here that I couldn t hope to capture and understand by simple virtue of the fact that I haven t lived lives anything like Eitan s or Fahmi s That only makes me want to learn , and be open toperspectives, and to try harder at understanding something that is so much bigger than me and my life At its core, this is a book about humanity and the human experience how, when you get right down to it, we are all the same, regardless of race or ethnicity or class or anything else We re all human We all feel and breathe and think and react and we all feel like we re in little isolated bubbles and we forget that everyone feels the same way It s only when we reach out in search of a connection that we discover, or remember, that whether we re Israeli or Palestinian, Jewish or Muslim, we re still all human Yet as a story, Almost Dead didn t quite manage to engage me or satisfy me, and what began with strength and charisma became a bit, well, ordinary, as if it lost the point it was trying to make in the flabby middle, and tried to recover at the end but by then the steam had gone out of it Still, it s a story that will stay with you, and as a character Fahmi especially is so human you feel you can reach into the page and touch him Hug him Protect him Save him So human that you know you can t, you can only watch helplessly as walks the path of self destruction in an attempt to find himself, stand up for his people, and live a just and meaningful life It is tragic in its hollowness These are the things that stay with me after reading this book, and so no, I couldn t read it as a comedy While I have to give Gavron credit for taking on the frightful task of writing a novel about the suicide bombings of the second intifada and one which incorporates both Israeli and Palestinian voices , I was kind of underwhelmed for most of this He s obviously trying to depict an awful period without resorting to cheap political stances, but he ends up with narration that seems so listless, so hopelessly casual most of the time, that this readslike an early draft of a better book that ju While I have to give Gavron credit for taking on the frightful task of writing a novel about the suicide bombings of the second intifada and one which incorporates both Israeli and Palestinian voices , I was kind of underwhelmed for most of this He s obviously trying to depict an awful period without resorting to cheap political stances, but he ends up with narration that seems so listless, so hopelessly casual most of the time, that this readslike an early draft of a better book that just never got written.The characterizations are weak and the development of them and the plot are a haphazard mess He introduces far too many characters who revolve around Eitan and Fahmi s perspectives without having any sort of effect or real relevance within their points of view In spite of that, Gavron does do an excellent job at hinting at a few things the sheer mental exhaustion from fear that everyone in this society faced at this time, the ambiguity of being a first generation Israeli, of being rooted in places like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem without being truly rooted there, and of the passive misery which the IDF can inflict without firing a single rubber bullet, but simply by disrupting the basic, meager infrastructure which Palestinians live under, and of the casual racism anti semitism that have sadly become common currency on both sides of an intractable divide.This might just be kind of an impossible topic to really write a solid novel about Suicide bombings are already fraught with misery and hyperbolic emotions on so many levels, both direct and implicit, that trying to turn them into the centerpiece for literary fiction seems like a really dicey prospect, especially when the characters and plot are already on shaky territory to begin with One thing that stands out about this translation is that one of the two translators is the original author of the Hebrew book So it s easy to trust the translation here, and that let me settle right in and enjoy the tone of this book It s young and modern, and definitely provides an insight into the lives of the young in Israel.My favorite quote from the book the main character describing the differences between himself and his girlfriend provides a good sense of the tone and feel of a b One thing that stands out about this translation is that one of the two translators is the original author of the Hebrew book So it s easy to trust the translation here, and that let me settle right in and enjoy the tone of this book It s young and modern, and definitely provides an insight into the lives of the young in Israel.My favorite quote from the book the main character describing the differences between himself and his girlfriend provides a good sense of the tone and feel of a book The difference between me and Duchi, in one sentence, is this I say, things will be all right, and if they aren t, that s all right too Duchi says, things will not be all right, and if they are, that s not all right either OK, two sentences I didn t have time for the safe side Who has An immersive first chapter made evenimpressive by the fact that the author translated his own work However, flipping to the next chapter to find that this was a dual point perspective book on a POV I didn t care for was disappointing I laughed when I read the following quote in the book I was reading right after Croc Attack by Andrew Sean Greer, LessHe wonders when their conversations had begun to sound like a novel in translationI didn t have time for the safe side Who has An immersive first chapter made evenimpressive by the fact that the author translated his own work However, flipping to the next chapter to find that this was a dual point perspective book on a POV I didn t care for was disappointing I laughed when I read the following quote in the book I was reading right after Croc Attack by Andrew Sean Greer, LessHe wonders when their conversations had begun to sound like a novel in translationStill, try out the first chapter just to see for yourself what it holds This review andcan be found on my blog One suicide bomber blows up a bus Another blows himself up in a caf A sniper attacks a busy road Eitan Enoch, known to all as the Croc survives all three incidents and finds himself an unwilling celebrity, a symbol of Israeli resistance Meanwhile, a Palestinian would be terrorist lies in a coma in a Jerusalem hospital, trying to figure out what has happened to him and how his fate fits that of the Croc.Croc Attack is pitched as a dark comedy to be honest, it s not really that funny, bu One suicide bomber blows up a bus Another blows himself up in a caf A sniper attacks a busy road Eitan Enoch, known to all as the Croc survives all three incidents and finds himself an unwilling celebrity, a symbol of Israeli resistance Meanwhile, a Palestinian would be terrorist lies in a coma in a Jerusalem hospital, trying to figure out what has happened to him and how his fate fits that of the Croc.Croc Attack is pitched as a dark comedy to be honest, it s not really that funny, but it is a very engaging page turner with a tragi comic feel and a lot to say about everyday life and attitudes in Israel Dark, depressing and highly recommended Contrasting humour with suspense, Assaf Gavron s Almost Dead tells the story of two contrasting characters a mid thirties Israeli yuppie nicknamed Croc, who works for a time management company, with Fahmi, a reluctant Palestinian bomb maker and terrorist who, when we meet him, is in a coma recalling his life Croc becomes a minor celebrity because he survives three terror attacks Fahmi is trying to understand his life and how he got where he is It becomes evident early on that the two are h Contrasting humour with suspense, Assaf Gavron s Almost Dead tells the story of two contrasting characters a mid thirties Israeli yuppie nicknamed Croc, who works for a time management company, with Fahmi, a reluctant Palestinian bomb maker and terrorist who, when we meet him, is in a coma recalling his life Croc becomes a minor celebrity because he survives three terror attacks Fahmi is trying to understand his life and how he got where he is It becomes evident early on that the two are heading for a collision course because Fahmi s older brother thinks Croc should be taken out as he s become a symbol to the people in Tel Aviv Gavron was educated in London and Vancouver and brings both an insider s view of Israel, where he grew up, and an outsider s jaundiced view of both the country and its modern reality TV media landscape and the culture of celebrity Mixing satire with a detective story, keeps the suspense building and the book is equal parts wit and a serious comment on modern Israeli life It s dead on in both aspects and a must read for anyone trying to fathom the complexities of the Middle East or for anyone who enjoys a thriller Top marks for Gavron BH I ve been meaning to read this one for a while, ever since randomly finding in in the library Not only is it good for international reading, but it addresses a situation that s as timely today as it was a decade or so ago when the book came out and it ll probably be for quite some time to come, since no resolution seems to ever emerge the Israel Palestinian conflict And sure you read about it in the news often enough, but it just isn t the same as hearing a local tell a story n in this case cr I ve been meaning to read this one for a while, ever since randomly finding in in the library Not only is it good for international reading, but it addresses a situation that s as timely today as it was a decade or so ago when the book came out and it ll probably be for quite some time to come, since no resolution seems to ever emerge the Israel Palestinian conflict And sure you read about it in the news often enough, but it just isn t the same as hearing a local tell a story n in this case create a fictional one about it So in the cleverly interweave dual narratives we meet Eitan who goes by Croc yes, it will be explained and Fahmi An Israeli and a Palestinian A well to do man and one struggling to get by One brushes by death, one quite literally almost dead Two very different sides of the fence Croc gets off the bus right before it s blown up, then finds himself right near and yet surviving twosimilar attacks This serendipitous chain of events earns him something of a quick celebrity status, but does nothing for his personal life as he begins to slowly unravel under the dark cloud of PTSD Fahmi s story is narrated from a bed where he lies in a comatose state, followed by what readers presume must have been an act of extreme violence It takes a while for the plots to intertwine and once they do, you just know that train is bound for tragedy, but it nevertheless makes for a very compelling read In a way both characters, especially Fahmi, are destined for their outcomes, shaped by the lay of their lands and the interminable unsolvable conflicts within them The author doesn t dress the story up in happy colors, doesn t create unrealistic constructs to ease the readers conscience, there s just a certain tragic inevitability to it all, but interestingly enough, it s told in a fairly, well not lighthearted per se, but oddly upbeat fashion, kind of darkly humorous in that grim fatalistic way you would imagine a person might come to possess from living in such circumstances I found that the tone worked very well for a novel that otherwise had a risk of ending up either too bleak or too preachy or both That and the perfectly even, nuancedly balanced consideration each character gets really made this novel The author doesn t seem to take sides, which you d think would be pretty much near impossible, or if he does, his writing doesn t convey them All he does is present characters and situations and you, the reader, can be the judge Or just an audience enjoying a good story Either way I liked this one I found it interesting and emotionally engaging and surprisingly entertaining for such a complex subject matter Very nice introduction to the author indeed Recommended ARC from publisherEvery once in awhile, a book will find it s way into my hands that takes me completely by surprise A book that grabs ahold of me and refuses to let go Had it not been for a little something called work you know, the place we go to do the things we have to do in order to get those little green papers that allow us to pay our bills , I would have been done with this novel days ago because it was just so darn hard to put down It takes place in Tel Aviv for the most part ARC from publisherEvery once in awhile, a book will find it s way into my hands that takes me completely by surprise A book that grabs ahold of me and refuses to let go Had it not been for a little something called work you know, the place we go to do the things we have to do in order to get those little green papers that allow us to pay our bills , I would have been done with this novel days ago because it was just so darn hard to put down It takes place in Tel Aviv for the most part and follows the deeply intertwined lives of two young men Eitan ,a Jewish software salesman known to friends and family as The Croc , who miraculously survives multiple suicide bombings and Fahmi, heavily influenced by his older brother, who works along side the Palestinian suicide bombers preparing them to carry out their missions.This is the third book I have read, back to back, that takes place outside of the United States This is quite rare for me, and totally unintentional The reason I make note of this is a slightly embarrassing one I am geographically and culturally challenged There I said it Phew And I ve been extremely lucky with my most recent reads Agaat, The Case of the Missing Servant, and this one.Usually, reading novels that take place in other countries leaves me slightly confused, feeling disconnected from the characters because I simply cannot relate to or empathize with them.With Almost Dead, not only did I read a fantastic story of survival and confusion, hatred and forgiveness, but I learned so much about a topic and a culture that I had no previous experience with or knowledge of before and I felt an intimate connection with the two main characters.Gavron takes his readers into the mind of comatose Fahmi, who we quickly discover can hear and feel everything that is going on around him in the hospital but is unable to open his eyes or respond This clearly frustrates him, and to escape his helplessness, he withdraws into memories recalling all the events that led him to his current existence of complete dependance on his nurse and the machines that keep him alive one tube for piss, one tube for air A reluctant fighter in the war between two misunderstood and proud cultures, Fahmi follows his brothers lead, preparing the way for the suicide bombers the men who are willing to sacrifice themselves for their beliefs, to take their rightful place beside their God Though he does not want to give up his own life for the war, Fahmi uses his skills to create the belt bombs that these men will detonate.Simultaneously, Gavron moves us through the chaotic moments of Eitan s life as he learns of the suicide bombing of Little Bus Number 5 moments after he stepped off of it Feeling guilty, he tracks down the Shuli girlfriend of the man who sat next to him on the Little Bus in order to pass on a message This decision puts The Croc on a journey of crazy coincidences surviving the sniper shootings on the road to Jerusalem, and another suicide bomber attack at a local coffee shop Eitan gains celebrity status, joins a therapy group, and pulls off an amateur investigation to find out just what secrets the man on the Little Bus was concealing.Incredibly paced, the book picks up speed from page one and refuses to slow down The side by side chapters of Eitan and Fahmi begin to narrow the gaps, pushing through the memories of the past into the present connecting our two storylines in a perfectly timed finale.Little by little, Gavron gives the readers enough information to begin connecting the dots on their own But that does nothing to stop you from wanting to see how it all comes together.I love books that get me thinking about the events that have taken place in my life how much of what happens to me is brought about due to the decisions I ve made How much of it was made to happen by someone or something else If only I had left the house 5 minutes earlier, or taken the SUV instead of the car, or eaten my breakfast at home instead of taking it in the car with me would I have missed hitting that deer If I hadn t quit my old job, and started at the new one on the same day as my husband, would we have met somewhere else, still fallen in love, and gotten married If Harper Perennial hadn t sent me an email offering a copy of this book for review, would I have eventually bought it and read it on my own If I read this book 3 years ago, or 2 year from now, would I have loved it as much as I do now Ladies and Gentlemen meet my Next Best Book Don t miss this one It may become your Next Best Book as well {DOWNLOAD PDF} í Almost Dead ⛓ An original and powerful writer His clear and honest writing blasts right through the clich s and the politically correct surface to touch the chaotic and ambiguous core of the Israeli identity Etgar Keret In a dazzling display of empathy, Gavron creates two equally compelling narrators, the bomber and his victim This is a virtuoso work a pitch perfect rendering of real Israeli life in all its chaos, energy, humor and terror I couldn t put it down Geraldine BrooksPolitically incorrect, provocative, and steeped in wit and irony, Almost Dead is a fast paced tragicomic novel about the perfectly ordinary madness in today s Middle East The concept behind this book two intertwined stories of an Israeli schlub who survives three consecutive terror attacks in one week and the reluctant Palestinian jihadi in a coma whose older brother organized the attacks induced me to pick it up on a whim despite having no prior knowledge about the book or its author Half of the way in, I was questioning my judgment and finding myself reminded of that key truth of modern literature a neat sounding concept doth by no means a decent book mak The concept behind this book two intertwined stories of an Israeli schlub who survives three consecutive terror attacks in one week and the reluctant Palestinian jihadi in a coma whose older brother organized the attacks induced me to pick it up on a whim despite having no prior knowledge about the book or its author Half of the way in, I was questioning my judgment and finding myself reminded of that key truth of modern literature a neat sounding concept doth by no means a decent book make However, I bit the bullet, continued onward, and found myself pleasantly rewarded as the second half of the book quickly redeemed the relatively mediocre first.The inner monologue of the two protagonists reads like the inner monologue of a 17 year old, and the plotlines ultimately fall a few yards short of meeting up in a logical and satisfying fashion, considering the tone of dramatic inevitability with which the characters parallel stories are presented On the other hand, I commend the author for his artful job of creating two opposed or are they really characters that the reader can identify with equally the sympathetic Palestinian terrorist in particular, considering that the author is an Israeli Jew And the ending, despite its above mentioned failure to sew the two plotlines together as completely the first 99% of the book had seemed to be promising, is still artfully executed and fartouching than I had been expecting A thoroughly decent book, overall