Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Limassol” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.45  ·  Rating details ·  241 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
A high-ranking official in the Israeli secret service is handed a new brief: go undercover as an aspiring novelist to befriend Dauphna, an Israeli writer, and her friend Hanai, a renowned Palestinian poet. The target is Hani's son Yotam, a wanted terrorist leader.

As the undercover agent becomes ingrained in Dauphna and Hani's lives, his own well-entrneced sense of right a
Paperback, 167 pages
Published November 30th 2010 by Europa Editions (first published January 1st 2000)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Limassol, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Limassol

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
I’m currently reading a book about hawks and their prey so my thoughts on this bleak story about the Israeli secret police and their hunt for Palestinian terrorists is a little influenced by the hawk story. In comparison to the secret police and their methods, the hawk, although the scourge of many smaller birds, appears as utterly noble, utterly beautiful, even heroic and while I understood the moral questions regarding the price of survival which Yishai Sarid has examined in Limassol, the nove ...more
Sep 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, europa
This IS a BOOK I READ!!!

blah blah blah


I just wanted this review to look like almost every other review in my update feed right now. FUCK. sigh.

Elizabeth, thank you for this book. I doubt I ever would have read it or paid much attention to it if you hadn't brought it with you on one of your New York visits.

I don't really get the blurbs on the novel though. Different reviewers call it a detective novel, another calls it and Israeli Notes from Underground, and the front cover copy says it'
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
חוקר שב״כ במרוץ אחר פצצה מתקתקת מתנסה במקביל בחקירה לא שגרתית אחרי סופרת פעילת שלום. חייו הולכים ומתרסקים בעודו פועל להצלת האחר (הציבור, ערבי מעזה, נרקומן מקיסריה), מתרסקים ונבנים מחדש ככל שהוא חוצה גבולות ושובר את הכללים ומצמצם את מבטו מהכלל אל הפרט.
רומן מרוכז מאוד (כ- 100 עמודים בגירסה האלקטרונית) שום מילה לא מיותרת, אבל נראה שהמחיר הוא שחלק מהדמויות היו מעט קלישאתיות, ובכל זאת אין תחושה של חוסר, קצבי ודי סוחף.
Moshe Mikanovsky
May 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hebrew, israel
ספר מצוין, אם כמה בכמה מקומות משום מה הרגשתי כאילו חסר משפט או שניים לחבר בין קטעי מחשבה או רצף הסיפור. אהבתי ששריד לא מרח את הסיפור והצליח להעביר אותו על פני 180 עמודים גם עם פיתוח דמויות ומצבים קשים שעברו
The annual longlist of the Dublin Impac awards provides a rich source of titles from around the world that I would otherwise never hear of. That is how I came across this book which has since made it on to the short list. It is the tale of an Israeli secret service man who specializes in interrogation. He is just a guy, doing his job, protecting the good guys from the bad guys. And that's his justification for his willful blindness to the cruelties he helps perpetuate. But his marriage and inter ...more
Nihal Vrana
Mar 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Well, it has many ingredients to be a good book; it is just a bit too undercooked and short. The characters are mostly 2 dimensional and stereotypical. Also there is an underlying tear-jerkeriness that I did not appreciate. But the structure of the story is pretty good. Also, it shows the dead-end of workaholic tendencies very well. As a workaholic that was a good cautionary tale.
Jakey Gee
Jun 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Splendid. This one was shortlisted for the Impac Award in 2012 and is another one to thank Daunt Books in London for promoting. Thank heavens for small publishers.

A power-packing little novel that really captures the troubling, Janus face of the Israel that I (still, often awkwardly) love. On the one hand, we see a disturbing world of sophisticated surveillance, paranoia, brutality and covert war (“We use satellites to smell the belch of some guy in Jenin after his meal of hummus with beans and
Superb thriller set in contemporary Israel, featuring a memorably sympathetic anti-hero. A secret service agent in the employ of the Zionist state, he is struggling to hold on to his humanity even as he smashes open Palestinian mouths and deploys interrogation techniques right out of Abu Ghraib in the mad race to stop suspected suicide bombers. In the middle of it all, with his family life spinning rapidly out of control, he gets an assignment: lure a highly prized Palestinian operative out into ...more
Sep 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-spanish
Novela aguilisima, te atrapa desde el principio. El peor sufrimiento que puede ocasionar, a un ser humano, es tener graves contradiciones en su pensamiento. A este personaje de los servicios secretos que penetra hasta sus ultimas consecuencias para lograr un objetivo marcado. Los demas personajes desde su esposa que pierde, a la maestra que busca con el objeto que le enseñe a escribir y que poco a poco logra su confianza, amiga entrañable de el poeta que viene de Gaza en fase terminal, a quie ta ...more
Dec 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: espionage, fiction
John le Carré this is not. Honestly, I think it was poorly translated, the prose felt incredibly stiff. (Note to translators: avoid the word "very" in English. It is a very boring word.) And I get that the protagonist is emotionally detached as a result of his job and it's a metaphor for Israeli society, but riding it this long... it's relying on the form. It's not good fiction.

It's almost enough to turn me off of translated fiction. Thank goodness I'm still reading Pevear & Volokhonsky's ed
Kit Fox
Jan 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
I dug it, but wasn't blown out of the water by it. Maybe too little happened? I mean, in le Carre county, things go slow, but at least stuff happens. Great atmosphere, though. Just wanted it to be longer and, well, punched-up a bit more. Not that it needed more fist fights, just more external conflict than purely internal conflict. Or something.
Milly Cohen
Sep 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excelente lectura, de las que no puedes soltar, el autor no te deja respiro y se lo agradeces, me gusta el final, mucho.
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gutes Buch. Schwieriges Buch. Schönes Buch.

Ad avermi colpito è stato, in prima battuta, sicuramente il titolo, poi sono stata affascinata dall’ambientazione ché mi capita di raro di leggere libri ambientati in quella parte del mondo.
In questi giorni, complice un po’ di apatia librica che mi ha portato a leggere varie prime pagine senza aver voglia di continuare la lettura, mi è tornato lui tra le mani ed è stato in grado di fari superare quello stato d’animo.
Siamo in Israele, quella striscia di ter
Ceci est le premier bouquin que je lis de la littérature contemporaine de l'occupation israélienne. Étant un militant pour la paix, Yishai Sarid y expose une version plus ou moins sincère le la société israélienne, à travers la vie d'un agent important des services secrets. Quelqu'un qui torture ses suspects (tous Arabe bien sûr) pour leur extraire des confessions ou des informations correspondants à de prochains attentats suicide. Pour se rendre la tache plus facile, il s'imagine que les hommes ...more
Aaron (Typographical Era)
Apr 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010, nook
I thought that reading seven of the ten titles on the 2012 Best Translated Book Award (yes Stone Upon Stone, I swear I’m still coming for you at some point) might burn me out a little from wanting to read translated works for a bit, but then along came Limassol as part of the IMPAC Awards shortlist and I was instantly intrigued for several reasons. First, it isn’t every day I get to read a novel that was translated from Hebrew, second, the chance to be inside the head of an Israeli secret police ...more
Dec 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Limassol is a gritty, tense, terse novel about an Israeli interrogator who has been dealing with terrorists and suspected terrorists too long. His marriage is dying as his obsessive dedication to his grim work takes its corrosive toll. Because of his ability as a writer and his once liberal views the interrogator is asked to go undercover to use a beautiful middle-aged Israeli writer who is friends with a dying Palestinian short story writer whose son is a terrorist. Complications include the Is ...more
Jason Paulios
Dec 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
A literary espionage story following the life of an Israeli secret service interrogator. Originally hired for his nuanced, sensitive approach to interrogation, he’s been in the job too long and succombed to the direct “butcher” method, believing “It was something mechanical, to get the secret out of him, the way you get a tumor out of somebody. With pliers, with a white hot blade, hanging by the feet so the secret will fall out of his head.” The pressure to find information about the next suicid ...more
Jul 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
I think the word "enemy" (and even "victory") is going through a transformation in terms of legal, sociological and even psychological aspect. It is no longer a person or masses of people with certain "subjective" description, but it comes along with humane attributes; face, feeling, family.
The book is an attraction as I certainly believe that Israelis -and most likely the Palestinians- are defected societies, and ironically, they have become the hostage of the same defect for different reasons.
Il poeta di Gaza è un uomo in fin di vita che pure riesce a cambiare l'esistenza a quelli che lo accudiscono. Il pregiudizio può essere fortissimo, ma come spesso accade va in frantumi appena messo di fronte alla quotidianità dell'esperienza.
Un addetto alla sicurezza israeliano si trova ad accudire un palestinese morente per arrivare a suo figlio, un (presunto) terrorista. Il nostro eroe sacrifica tutto per il suo lavoro e la sicurezza del paese, in primis la propria famiglia. Tutto è giustifica
Jul 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Translated from Hebrew and written in the first person our protagonist is an Israeli secret service agent, who is undertaking an undercover style mission posing as a successful share market trader who is really a frustrated writer needing guidance. Outside of his plot to entice the sensual Daphna he works through the night as a hard-nosed violent interrogator who lacks emotion and wants to see the streets cleared of suicide bombers. He’s rarely home to visit his wife Sigi and four year old child ...more
J.M. Hushour
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
As far as Israeli noir crime novels go, and this is the only one I've read, actually, this is pretty excellent. Unnamed Shin Bet interrogator/agent goes undercover as an aspiring writer who attaches himself to an older famous Israeli author to get at her friend, a dying Palestinian poet who lives in Gaza, to get at THIS guy's son, a radical Islamist guy. Grim shit, but really good, written in a sparse way that invokes, well, invokes someone writing a novel for the first time (the narrator? get w ...more
Jul 07, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: c21st, israel, thriller
Limassol is just another one of those boring old crime/thriller stories about a disaffected, world-weary male protagonist (yawn) who can’t communicate (yawn) whose marriage is falling apart (yawn) and he’s trapped in a moral quagmire (yawn). Ok, this time the male protagonist is an Israeli secret service agent, and ok, this time the setting is Israel and all the geopolitical angst that goes with that, but at the end of the day, it’s a tired old plot with tired old characterisation that’s been do ...more
Denis Lejeune
Feb 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Would give it 2.5 stars. Strange reading experience: nice style, interesting main character and interesting human relationships. But it is hardly an espionage novel, not a thriller at all and nowhere near a detective story. And that is the problem for me as it is sold as part of the World Noir collection and I bought it in good faith. So it is a let-down, not to mention the 'let's-get-it-over-with-I-am-tired' ending. All in all probably a decent book, only a very bad noir one.
Oct 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Here's a book that makes you think hard about interrogation techniques in the face of credible terrorist threats. And it's a book that makes you consider the limits and limitations of parental love and responsibility. Altogether, it's an uncomfortable little thriller in which the tension is unabating. Whew. I'm glad I've finished it.
Jack G
Jan 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Translated from Hebrew this is an intesting insight into the world of the Isreali mossad / secret service along with a view about a number of regional issues. There aren't many who escape from the realities and challenges of containging terrorism and trying to maintain humanity .
Ann O'Connell
Dec 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I have never been disappointed in any book introduced by Europa Editions. This is a parable about Israel today and political criticique of the Isreali idea of security and the drug and crime industries in that country.
Dec 28, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
No sé cómo llegó este libro a mis manos. La reseña en e libro llamó mi atención y decidí leerlo. Al principio es interesante, pero no llega ni a la mitad, cuando lo inverosímil se impone. No entiendo tanta recomendación. Es una buena manera de malgastar el tiempo.
Gonzalo Corvera
Aug 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
"El poeta de Gaza" es el título en español

Muy flaco el desarrollo. Poco profundos los personajes. Muestra un poco de la dinámica árabe /israelí, pero con poca profundidad
Feb 11, 2011 rated it it was ok
Either the storyline or the translation got a little thin at the end. Otherwise, interesting espionage thriller.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Minotaur
  • Rhyming Life and Death
  • Dolly City
  • The Confessions of Noa Weber
  • Dispute Over a Very Italian Piglet
  • Tel Aviv Noir
  • Homesick
  • A sombra do que fomos
  • Badenheim 1939
  • Writing in the Dark: Essays on Literature and Politics
  • Poisonville
  • The German Mujahid
  • The Jewish Husband
  • Chourmo
  • Carte Blanche
  • Five Seasons
  • Let It Be Morning
  • Almost Dead

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »