Winner of the Sapir Prize for First Novel 2015
Nominated for Le Prix Femina (Foreign Fiction) 2018
Twenty years after running away with his mother and siblings from his violent father and immigrating from Poland to Israel, and shortly after his wife takes their five-year-old son and leaves him, Tadeusz decides to visit his homeland. The family has never forgiven the father, Stefan, for his brutality and reckless drinking, but Tadeusz suddenly feels an inexplicable urge to meet him again, perhaps for the last time, and see him through the eyes of a grown man.
He returns to a foreign, crumbling Poland and finds his aging father in a retirement home for war veterans in Warsaw. The two men set out on an unexpected journey to the small village where Stefan grew up. As the journey advances, Stefan recounts his experiences from World War Two, painting a shocking picture of the cruelty he experienced and witnessed and casting a heavy shadow on the landscapes they pass. The physical journey to his estranged homeland and the evocative encounter with his perplexing father force Tadeusz to reflect on his life, past and present, and the complex relationship between fathers and sons.
Praise for Bandit
‘Itamar Orlev’s book is an exhilarating surprise. One feels that a true writer has been born here … You can’t help but ask: where have you been up till now, Itamar? Why did we have to wait forty years?’ – Havatzelet Farber, Makor Rishon Weekend Supplement
‘A wonderful book that often left me breathless.’ – Mirav Golan, E-mago
‘It seems as though the art of storytelling has been lost in Israel, violated from the very start by ideology and then by language, but Itamar Orlev’s Bandit lives up to its name. A son of a bitch of a father. A violent bastard, a beloved drunk. And so is the book. A bandit book. A fucking good book. A son of a bitch that blows you over and won’t let go.’ – Igal Sarna, Yediot Acharonot, Shiva Yamim Weekend Supplement