The following is a description of the discussion that took place at the Israeli Book Club of the novel The Lie, by Hesh Kestin. This description is written by club member, David Leader.
Yesterday, 4 of us met for the 24th session of the JCC Israel Book Club, at CBHT at 9:30 a.m. Our book for this month was The Lie, by Hesh Kestin. Book club member Steve led a fascinating and sometimes controversial discussion, starting with the scant biographical information available for this former correspondent for the Middle East (for over two decades), who reportedly also served in the IDF at some point.
All present agreed that the book was an easy read and well-written. One person in attendance stated that the book’s “surprise” ending was totally obvious from the get-go, and it was noted that there was little in the way of character development for characters that seemed somewhat stereotypical.
We looked at the “lies” or “myths” that are personal, cultural and political in our lives: “lies” that are promulgated by governments to rationalize/justify their actions, those that are perpetuated due to the stereotypes that we or others place on us, and “lies” about ourselves and our belief systems, which are easily held and defended until they face an essential challenge (such as was experienced by the protagonist of the novel). We discussed the notion that calling culturally-held beliefs as “myths” may be misleading or incorrect, and settled on the terms “narratives” or “stories.” We looked at the role of the media in the current and ongoing crisis in the Middle East, the decline of identification with many Diaspora Jews with the State of Israel, and the potential that there are literatures that would be helpful to seek to attempt to gain a more balanced view.
The next Israeli Book Club meeting will take place on December 19 at the NEW TIME of 10:00 am at CBHT, at which time, Nicole will facilitate a discussion of the historical novel, Beaufort, by Ron Leshem.