Synopses & Reviews
The place is Serbia, the time is the late 1990s. Our protagonist, a single man, writes a regular op-ed column for a Belgrade newspaper and spends the rest of his time with his best friend, smoking pot and talking about sex, politics, and life in general. One day on the shore of the Danube he spots a man slapping a beautiful woman. Intrigued, he follows the woman into the tangled streets of the city until he loses sight of her. A few days later he receives a mysterious manuscript whose contents seem to mutate each time he opens it. To decipher the manuscript—a collection of fragments on the Kabbalah and the history of the Jews of Zemun and Belgrade—he contacts an old schoolmate, now an eccentric mathematician, and a group of men from the Jewish community.
As the narrator delves deeper into arcane topics, he begins to see signs of anti-Semitism, past and present, throughout the city and he feels impelled to denounce it. But his increasingly passionate columns erupt in a scandal culminating in murder. Following in the footsteps of Foucault’s Pendulum, Leeches is a cerebral adventure into the underground worlds of secret societies and conspiracy theories.
Docx has a gift for assessing the exact shape and weight of other peoples inner selves, the architecture of their spirit,” and although the book teems with charactersthe cast reaches nearly Dickensian proportionseven the most ancillary flare into being, vital and insistent.
The New Yorker
A novel so vivid it glows in the dark -- like truth.
The Washington Post
Longlisted for the 2007 Man Booker Prize, and with good reason: well written, vigorously plotted and perceptive about human nature. Kirkus Reviews, Starred
Caustic, hip, and highly recommended. Library Journal
Docx's ability to capture the feel of St. Petersburg, London, New York and Paris adds depth to this portrait of a family in turmoil. Drug addiction, sex, the emptiness of superficial relationships, poverty and music round out the ambitious narrative.
As the mystery of Maria's life and death is revealed, the haunting story hurtles toward a startling conclusion.
Docx has plumbed the depths of understanding and forgiveness with this fascinating book.
"Violence in the Balkans perhaps could be said to have opened and closed the Western 20th century -- from the 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by a Serbian dissident to the brutal splintering, in the 1990s, of Yugoslavia, which led to ethnic cleansing and Slobodan Milosevic's trial for war crimes. In the spring of 1998, the bloodletting in Kosovo reached a point where the international community could no longer turn its head, and tensions would mount until NATO's bombing campaign was begun a year later. And yet, in March of 1998, the young journalist who narrates David Albahari's novel Leeches sits in Belgrade, only one province over from the site of attempted genocide and the oppression of a people, writing opinion pieces about whether the citizens of his city really appreciate enough the river that cuts through it." Jessa Crispin, NPR (Read the entire NPR review)
A sweeping transcontinental novel of secrets and lies buried within a single family
Thirty-two-year-old Gabriel Glover arrives in St. Petersburg to find his mother dead in her apartment. Reeling from grief, Gabriel and his twin sister, Isabella, arrange the funeral without contacting their father, Nicholas, a brilliant and manipulative libertine. Unknown to the twins, their mother had long ago abandoned a son, Arkady, a pitiless Russian predator now determined to claim his birthright. Aided by an ex-seminarian whose heroin addiction is destroying him, Arkady sets out to find the siblings and uncover the dark secret hidden from them their entire lives.
Winner of the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, Pravda is a darkly funny, compulsively readable, and hauntingly beautiful chronicle of discovery and loss, love and loyalty, and the destructive legacy of deceit.
The protagonist, a single man, lives in Zemun, Serbia in the spring 1998, and writes a regular column for a Belgrade periodical. One day, by the Danube, he sees a man slapping a woman; a few days later, he comes across a personal ad referring to the scene, clearly meant for him. He responds to the ad and receives a mysterious manuscript, which proves to be a collection of fragments on the Kabala and Belgrade's Jewish communities in the nineteenth century. He's fascinated, delves into the history of Jews in Belgrade, and begins to write about it in his column resulting in a murder, a love affair, and the destruction of a friendship. The translator describes LEECHES as "a thriller and a murder mystery, though there is nothing boiler-plate about it."
About the Author
DAVID ALBAHARI was born in Serbia and emigrated to Canada in 1994. He is the author of eleven novels and nine collections of short stories. His novel Götz and Meyer won the ALTA Translation Award and was a Barnes and Noble Discover selection.