The Slaughterman's Daughter
Sunday November 7 / 2 pm
Virtual at the J and at-home
“Occasionally a book comes along so fresh, strange, and original that it seems peerless, utterly unprecedented. This is one of those books.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
With her reputation as a vilde chaya (wild animal), Fanny Keismann isn’t like the other women in her shtetl in the Pale of Settlement—certainly not her obedient and anxiety-ridden sister, Mende, whose “philosopher” of a husband, Zvi-Meir, has run off to Minsk, abandoning her and their two children.
As a young girl, Fanny felt an inexorable pull toward her father’s profession of ritual slaughterer and, under his reluctant guidance, became a master with a knife. And though she long ago gave up that unsuitable profession—she’s now the wife of a cheesemaker and a mother of five—Fanny still keeps the knife tied to her right leg. Which might come in handy when, heedless of the dangers facing a Jewish woman traveling alone in czarist Russia, she sets off to track down Zvi-Meir and bring him home, with the help of the mute and mysterious ferryman Zizek Breshov, an ex-soldier with his own sensational past. Yaniv Iczkovits spins a family drama into a far-reaching comedy of errors that will pit the czar’s army against the Russian secret police and threaten the very foundations of the Russian Empire. The Slaughterman’s Daughter is a rollicking and unforgettable work of fiction.
YANIV ICZKOVITS is the author of Pulse, Adam and Sophie, and Wittgenstein’s Ethical Thought. He held a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University and was a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Tel Aviv. The Slaughterman’s Daughter was shortlisted for the Sapir Prize, and was awarded the Agnon Prize. He lives with his family in Tel Aviv and will be joining us virtually.