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The Slaughterman's Daughter

On sale

22nd March 2021

Price: £10.99

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Selected: Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780857058300

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“Boundless imagination and a vibrant style . . . a heroine of unforgettable grit” DAVID GROSSMAN
“A story of great beauty and surprise” GARY SHTEYNGART

The townsfolk of Motal, an isolated, godforsaken town in the Pale of Settlement, are shocked when Fanny Keismann – devoted wife, mother of five, and celebrated cheese-maker
leaves her home at two hours past midnight and vanishes into the night.

True, the husbands of Motal have been vanishing for years, but a wife and mother? Whoever heard of such a thing. What on earth possessed her?

Could it have anything to do with Fanny’s missing brother-in-law, who left her sister almost a year ago and ran away to Minsk, abandoning their family to destitution and despair?

Or could Fanny have been lured away by Zizek Breshov, the mysterious ferryman on the Yaselda river, who, in a strange twist of events, seems to have disappeared on the same night?

Surely there can be no link between Fanny and the peculiar roadside murder on the way to Minsk, which has left Colonel Piotr Novak, head of the Russian secret police, scratching his head. Surely a crime like that could have nothing to do with Fanny Keismann, however the people of Motal might mutter about her reputation as a vilde chaya, a wild animal . . .

Surely not.

Translated from the Hebrew by Orr Scharf


What begins as a small family drama explodes in every possible direction in its virtuosity
Yaron London, Walla
An adventure story with few like it in modern Hebrew literature . . . a simply outstanding novel
Gili Izikovich, Haaretz Gallery
A major novel that zigzags between characters and plots, between history and psychology, rooted in a brilliant narrative
Dorit Rabinyan, Time Out, on ADAM AND SOPHIE
We should keep an eye on Iczkovits. He is an amazing talent who will be talked about for a long time to come
David Grossman
With boundless imagination and a vibrant style, Yaniv Iczkovits creates a colorful family drama that spins nineteenth century Russia out of control, and he delivers a heroine of unforgettable grit. Iczkovits wields his pen with wit and panache. A remarkable and evocative read
Bram Presser, author of The Book of Dirt
With the sweeping grandeur of a Russian epic and the sly, sometimes bawdy humour of the Yiddish greats, The Slaughterman's Daughter is a magnificent triumph
George Szirtes
The Slaughterman's Daughter is a miraculous patchwork-quilt of individual stories within stories told by different voices through which Fanny, the Belorussian Jewish slaughterman's daughter, cuts with her butcher's knife in search of justice. That quest for justice is the master story: a feminist picaresque set in a landscape of visionary and intimate historical and physical detail
Gary Shteyngart
A story of great beauty and surprise. A necessary antidote for our times
Rosemary Sullivan
Totally compulsive reading
Antonia Senior, The Times
"An extraordinarily vivid portrayal of life in the Pale of Settlement, an area of the pre-revolutionary Russian Empire where Jews were allowed, begrudgingly, to live"
Nick Rennison, Sunday Times
A narrative full of invention and surprises . . . Iczkovits mixes real history, fable and the products of his imagination into an intoxicating, thoroughly enjoyable brew
Elaine Margolin, TLS
Yaniv Iczkovits' brilliant, sweeping novel is set in czarist Russia during the late nineteenth century, but feels highly relevant and resonant today . . . filled with exquisitely drawn characters . . . bold and provocative
David Herman, Jewish Chronicle
A born storyteller . . . Iczkovits is clearly a talent to watch and The Slaughterman's Daughter is the place to start
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Occasionally a book comes along so fresh, strange, and original that it seems peerless, utterly unprecedented. This is one of those books. Iczkovits is a superb talent, and this novel is a resounding success
Economist (Books of the Year, 2020)
Echoes of Russian and Yiddish literature resound in this delightful picaresque, but you need not hear them to enjoy it . . . Technicolour characters, pathos and humour are all wonderfully captured in a nimble translation from the Hebrew
New York Times, Shay K. Azoulay
It's a genuine pleasure to see all of the different strands of the story come together in the final act. If the Coen brothers ever ventured beyond the United States for their films, they would find ample material in this novel . . . An ultimately hopeful search for small comforts and a modicum of justice in an absurd and immoral world
Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal
Approaches history in a fabulist style reminiscent of Sholem Aleichem and his disciples . . . The folktale tradition evoked in the storytelling has an estimable history, but perhaps even more old-fashioned is this novel's length and leisurely tempo. Mr. Iczkovits slowly elaborates his scenes, indulging in every tangent and scrap of context, as though there weren't countless forms of instant entertainment vying for the reader's attention. I appreciated the pace . . . Today it would be a quick drive to Minsk; once upon a time the trip was the stuff of epics