English Teacher: A Novel, The

Yiftach Reicher Atir
For readers of John Le Carré and viewers of Homeland, a slow-burning psychological spy-thriller by a former brigadier general of intelligence in the Israeli army   After attending her father’s funeral, former Mossad agent Rachel Goldschmitt empties her bank account and disappears. But when she makes a cryptic phone call to her former handler, Ehud, the Mossad sends him to track her down. Finding no leads, he must retrace her career as a spy to figure out why she abandoned Mossad before she can do any damage to Israel. But he soon discovers that after living under cover for so long, an agent’s assumed identity and her real one can blur, catching loyalty, love, and truth between them. In the midst of a high-risk, high-stakes investigation, Ehud begins to question whether he ever knew his agent at all.   In The English Teacher, Yiftach R. Atir drew on his own experience in intelligence to weave a psychologically nuanced thriller that explores the pressures of living under an assumed identity for months at a time.   Praise for The English Teacher:   “An extraordinary page turner, told with clarity, insight, and compassion, The English Teacher offers a rare and realistic portrait of the unrelenting sacrifices of living a double life.” —Gideon Raff   “[Yiftach R. Atir] probes how leading a double life can erode the foundations of a spy’s former existence; how all of the lies are rooted in truth, and the truth, especially when it comes to love, is often coated with a patina of lies. . . . Masterful.” —The Times of Israel   “The book . . . does exactly what a novel of its kind should do: re-examine the Mossad. Throughout the book . . . doubts are cast on personal as well as national morality. . . . Atir seeks to pinpoint the fine line separating the moral actions that operatives perform for their country and their own exploitation.” —Ha’aretz

Reviews

Reviewed: 2018-07-30

Since high school I have flipped to the back of the book to learn what happens to the characters. Which man did the heroine chose, who died, etc. This was a book I wanted to follow along and let the ending surprise me. It's about a woman named Rachel who is a spy for the Mossad living in an unnamed Arab capital city. After the death of her father Rachel calls her old handler Ehud and gives him a code that lets him know she's leaving her present life. The Mossad quickly must find Rachel and get her to return to Israel. The bulk of the story is told by Ehud telling their story to his former handler Joe. As Ehud tells Joe the story we get Rachel's impressions of the story as well. The book's pacing keeps you reading and wanting to let the story play out. 

This is the first novel of Yidtach R. Atir and I can't wait for the next novel. This is definitely a book to add to your TBR pile.

Reviewed: 2017-01-31

Well written, unique style and approach to a story on espionage.
-mm

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