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The Lion Seeker Paperback – Deckle Edge, Feb 26 2013
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WINNER 2015 – Jewish Book Council Choice Award
FINALIST 2015 – Jewish Book Council Sami Rohr Prize
WINNER 2014 – Canadian Jewish Book Award in Fiction, a category of the Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Awards
WINNER 2013 – Edward Lewis Wallant Award
WINNER 2013 – National Jewish Book Award for Outstanding Debut Fiction
FINALIST 2013 – Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction
“The Lion Seeker…adds to the unique diversity in Canadian literature…. Mazel tov, Kenneth Bonert, you have written a blockbuster of a book.”
—Jennifer Hunter, Toronto Star
“Bonert’s prose is sharp and masterful, clipping along at a breathless pace while still managing to wow us with imagery, clever turns of phrase and believable dialogue peppered with several languages.”
—Zoe Whittall, The Globe and Mail
“Strikingly assured debut…. The Lion Seeker is astonishingly mature, admirably incautious. It moves with the sleight-of-hand of the born artist, ramping up for naked tugs at the heart. It would make a terrific film. It’s visually and thematically sweeping, rich with diverse personalities, packed with tender waves and roiling crests of love, loss, hope, hatred.”
—Jim Bartley, National Post
“This powerful novel begins with a mystery that propels its characters through their difficult lives in prewar South Africa and haunts their actions until a dramatic and searing climax based on the Holocaust in Lithuania. The Lion Seeker is vivid and illuminating, astonishing in its range and toughness, and simultaneously an expression of love and regret for all that has been lost.”
—Antanas Sileika, author of Underground and Woman in Bronze and Director of the Humber School for Writers
“A remarkably assured debut, The Lion Seeker is a riveting, lyrical, and profound journey towards the intersection of private lives and public destinies. Kenneth Bonert has all the makings of a major novelist.”
—Charles Foran, author of Mordecai: The Life and Times
“The Lion Seeker is no-holds-barred, bare-knuckle-fight raw. A historical novel that feels desperately current; a Rosenburg and Juliet love story shorn of all sentiment; a stock-taking of human brutality and its flip side, our capacity to reach beyond our limitations and be better, all rendered in prose so expert, so fine honed that it belies the adjective ‘debut.’ It joins classics like J. M. Coetzee’s Disgrace and Rian Malan’s My Traitor’s Heart in the canon, and renders the South African experience universal. A first-round knock-out for Kenneth Bonert.”
—Richard Poplak, author of Ja No Man: Growing Up White in Apartheid-Era South Africa
“The Lion Seeker is a powerful and thoroughly engrossing novel, grand in scope, richly imagined, full of dramatic incident, and crafted in a prose that is by turns rough-hewn and lyrical. To read it is to be reminded how great a great novel can be.”
—David Bezmozgis, author of The Free World and Natasha: And Other Stories
From the Back Cover
A taut, visceral account of a young Jewish boy s African life . . . offering at times page-turning thrills and at others a painful meditation on destiny and volition. NPR, " All Things Considered"
A powerful family saga, The Lion Seeker is a thrilling ride through the life of Isaac Helger, from redheaded hooligan on the streets of Johannesburg to striving young man on the make. Growing up in the shadow of World War II, Isaac is caught between his mother s urgent ambition to bring her sisters to safety out of the old world and his own desire for the freedoms of the new. But soon his mother s carefully guarded secret takes them to the diamond mines, where mysteries are unveiled in the desert rocks and Isaac begins to learn the bittersweet reality of success bought at truly any cost.
[A] master storyteller . . . Bonert s zest for description, his attention to social nuances, and his eagerness to tell a large story in a large way . . . [creates] a big, richly detailed novel. "Tablet Magazine"
Raw and ambitious. "Moment "
Astonishingly mature, admirably incautious . . . It s visually and thematically sweeping, rich with diverse personalities, packed with tender waves and roiling crests of love, loss, hope, hatred. "National Post" (Canada)
Stunning. "Jewish Daily Forward"
Powerful and thoroughly engrossing . . . To read it is to be reminded how great a great novel can be. David Bezmozgis, author of "The Free World"
KENNETH BONERT s fiction has appeared in McSweeney s, Grain, and the Fiddlehead, and his journalism has appeared in the Globe and Mail and other publications. Born in South Africa, Bonert is the grandson of Lithuanian immigrants.
Look for the reader s guide at www.marinerbooks.com.
Author photograph (c) Richard Dubois
" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
"The Lion Seeker" tells the story of the Jewish Helger family - parents and two children - who were fortunate to flee from Lithuania in the 1920's to South Africa. The father - Abel - had emigrated first and then sent for his wife - Gitelle - and his children, Rively and Isaac. Their village in Lithuania - Dusat - had been the scene of many pogroms and Gitelle had been seriously injured in one in the early 1900's. Gitelle, or "Mame" as her children called her, was able to get plastic surgery on her damaged face, enabling her to discard the veil she had worn since she had been badly injured.
Bonert makes Isaac Helger the main character in the book, but around him revolve a large cast of secondary characters. Life in Johannesburg in the 1930's and 1940's for Jewish immigrants was hard; getting a start in business and making a life for themselves in the repressive society of South Africa was often very difficult. But at least the Jews of South Africa were considered "white" and were much better off than the "colored" and the "blacks" in society. Bonert makes no bones about the disadvantaged "blacks"; often condemned to life-long poverty, living in their own bleak "sections". But if the blacks are at the bottom of society, then the English and Dutch who have gotten wealthy off the work of others, rest at the top. Their coin has made their lives - hidden away behind gates in large houses in well-protected enclaves - one of ease and acceptance.Read more ›
I read a lot I am always looking for books to read. I often read book reviews of any new books that come on the market and as books go this one was very difficult to finish.
Most recent customer reviews
I've read Mr. Bonert's other books and loved them, but I did not like this one, too long, too many odd words that needed explaining. I disliked the main character a lot.Published 5 months ago by Bernbaby
Not the type of book I would read if it was not on my book club list. I read other books on the conditions of the different classes in South Africa which were interesting, history... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Catheline Nemeth
I didn't like anything about this book, found the story to be depressing. The story concept had promise but I didn't enjoy the path the author chose.Published on May 27 2014 by Joyce P. Huff