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Dinner at the Center of the Earth: A novel…
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Dinner at the Center of the Earth: A novel

by Nathan Englander

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1146149,550 (3.61)10
  1. 00
    The Ministry of Special Cases by Nathan Englander (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: historical novels of Jewish importance
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English (5)  German (1)  All languages (6)
Showing 5 of 5
Jewish Interest ( )
  Agavebooksinc | Feb 14, 2018 |
A book that is absorbing to read but difficult to pin down. The narrative voices of the characters, each separate but intersecting, even connecting biefly, creates a compelling picture. Much of what it illuminates is from the Israeli perspective and struck me as a subtle, persuasive construct. It left me feeling more aware but when I try to formulate aware of what, it slips through my fingers. 7 November 2017. ( )
  alanca | Nov 28, 2017 |
Nathan Englander is an excellent writer and this book is a welcome addition to his body of work. However, I enjoyed this least of his 4 books but it was an interesting read. It deals with the Israeli conflict and it does so over different time frames with different characters. The writing is excellent and at 252 pages it was an easy read. It does show the ambiguity of the conflict with both sides having people whose positions constantly shift. There were elements of the plot that didn't make sense but this book was less about plot and more about the characters. For those who have read Englander this is a welcome addition but for those who have not read him, I would start with "What we talk about when we talk about Anne Frank" which is short stories and in my opinion Englander's best. ( )
  nivramkoorb | Nov 27, 2017 |
What?!! After carefully noting who did what where and when throughout the entire book, I finished the last sentence of this novel and have no idea of what I just read. That is not to say I didn't like it. What I took from this book was that you can't believe what you read and you can trust no one.

The book deals with the way individuals deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It includes an Ariel Sharon-like character, a prisoner in a secret prison, multiple spies, and some characters involved in romance.

I was uncomfortable with the political background of this novel, but it is necessary to know ahead of time to fully understand the book's quiet commentary. I did very much like the intimacy with Israeli culture as the story mentions trampiada and shakshuka. :)

Should you read this story? I would say yes if you like other works by this author (I do...very much), and you don't mind entering a mental labyrinth. Happy traveling, fellow reader! ( )
  SqueakyChu | Sep 21, 2017 |
Englander’s new book received rave reviews from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Esquire, and the Los Angeles Times among others. It unfolds in the highly charged territory of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and pivots on the complex relationship between a secret prisoner and his guard. Nathan Englander has woven a powerful intensely suspenseful portrait of a nation riven by insoluble conflict, even as the lives of its citizens become fatefully and inextricably entwined. This story dramatizes the immense moral ambiguities haunting both sides. Who is the guard and who is truly the prisoner? Who is right and who is wrong? Dinner at the Center of the Earth is considered Englander’s best yet!
  HandelmanLibraryTINR | Sep 20, 2017 |
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Epigraph
There is accumulation.  There is responsibility. And beyond these, there is unrest. There is great unrest. --Julian Barnes
Dedication
For Nicole Aragi
First words
It's never about you.
Quotations
Ruthi waves her hands before the flames and the presses them to her eyes for the blessing. It is in this window where's mother's wishes are made. (p. 102)
He is letting his people know that however painful the sacrifices he will ask--this place, hallowed ground, he will never surrender.  Not the jewel of their unified, undivided city. (p. 125)
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"A prisoner in a secret cell. The guard who has watched over him a dozen years. An American waitress in Paris. A young Palestinian man in Berlin who strikes up an odd friendship with a wealthy Canadian businessman. And The General, Israel's most controversial leader, who lies dying in a hospital, the only man who knows of the prisoner's existence. From these vastly different lives Nathan Englander has woven a ... portrait of a nation riven by insoluble conflict, even as the lives of its citizens become fatefully and inextricably entwined"--… (more)

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