In 1840s Damascus, Aslan Farhi leads a miserable life. Despised by his wealthy father, bullied by his siblings, and humiliated by his mother, he forms a close friendship with another boy, only for him to mysteriously disappear when their relationship becomes public knowledge. Aslan is horrified when his father arranges for him to be married to the rabbi's daughter, but the ordeal of the wedding is unexpectedly lightened by the presence of an exotic dancer, Umm-Jihan, with whom he becomes entranced.But all is not as it seems and, confused and unhappy, Aslan embarks on an ill-advised relationship with an Italian monk, with disastrous consequences.
A remarkable historical novel with all the hallmarks of an international classic in the making.
Alon Hilu is an Israeli writer and playwright. He was born in 1972. His first book, Death of a Monk, is a historical novel which re-tells the story of the blood libel against the Damascus Jews which took place in 1840. The book was translated into five languages, was among the five finalists for the prestigious Sapir Prize in 2005, and won the Israeli Presidential prize for a debut novel in 2006 and the Israeli Prime Minister prize in 2008. The House of Rajani was awarded the 2009 Sapir Prize. Alon Hilu lives with his family in Tel Aviv.www.alonhilu.com
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