"The Debba" by Avner Mandelman

David Starkman is living in Canada, having renounced his Israeli citizenship after leaving a top-secret assassination unit of the military and is estranged from his family. When he finds out his father has been murdered he returns to Israel to take care of the will. Once there, he discovers a catch in the will that will change his life.

His father has requested that David stage a play he wrote known as "The Debba." His father tried to stage it once before but a riot prevented it from ever being shown in full. This is because the Debba is a mythical Arab hyena that turns into a man and lures Jewish children away from their family. Rumours and anger surround the legend of the Debba.

When David decides that he will stage the play, he is drawn into the investigation into his fathers murder and back into the intricacies and realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He quickly discovers things about this father and family that many tried desperately to keep secret. And he discovers that in the end, he can't run away from who he really is.

The Debba is an interesting look at Middle East tensions through a fictional story. There is a lot to the book - David's self-discovery, politics, relationships and of course the myth of the Debba itself.

It took me a while to get into the book. The first half seemed very slow to me, I wasn't sure exactly where it was going to go or if it was going to pick up. But it did pick up in the second half and became a very interesting mystery and thriller. There are definitely a lot of twists and enough players to keep you guessing as to what is going to happen and who really is responsible for what.

Overall, this was an enjoyable book. I know the basics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and this book was able to give me a more personal insight into the conflict itself and how attitudes are shaped.


  1. Sounds interesting - I'll watch out for it in the library.


  2. I've had my eye out on this book for a while - all the reviews are interesting.


  3. I met the author of this book this past summer and I still haven't read this book! I know, I'm lame. I have to get it together in 2011 and read this book!

  4. Let me know how you like How To Read The Air? .

    My review is on my blog if you would like to stop by...no spoilers.



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