The Falafel King Is Dead

Sara Shilo

Published: 5 January 2012
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 240 pages
ISBN: 9781846272226


The town has lost its famed falafel king, but the Dadon family have also lost a father and husband. Living with the daily threat of Katyusha missiles from neighbouring Lebanon, and struggling to survive amid the rubble of their lives, Simona and her three children each find their own way of coping with their grief, their fear and their hopes. Raw, lyrical, shocking and moving, Sara Shilo's powerful debut novel recounts the life of an ordinary Israeli family over the course of a single, extraordinary day in prose that we have never before encountered in contemporary Hebrew literature.

About the author

Image of Sara Shilo

Sara Shilo was born in Jerusalem and currently lives in a small town in northern Israel with her family. This is her first book for adults. More about the author


‘A masterpiece of Israeli literature’ Dror Burstein



‘I was very deeply moved by Sara Shilo's book. The combination of an original vision with such fierce honesty and compassion is rare; I have not read a more powerful book all year, and it will stay with me for a long time.’ Nicole Krauss

‘Shilo writes with a raw power, whether she is describing the pain of childbirth or the fear of the terrorist attacks ... so memorable and moving.’

‘Shilo's achievement - and she appeared out of nowhere in the literary arena, at a relatively late age - is first and foremost linguistic, but also political. In this story there are no downtrodden, no victims, no pitiable wretches, just an Eastern family that has such a hard time that there simply has to be a happy ending. It appears that if you really know how to tell the story, those living on the periphery can sketch the center around themselves’

‘Shilo's debut novel is a bold, original and moving book, a true masterpiece’

‘The novel is remarkable for the vividness of the five individual voices ... it was not just the quality of writing that marked this novel out. It was also that it focused on a marginalised community of Mizrachi - or Eastern - Jews, whose roots lie in Arab countries ... It is this unique cultural perspective that provides the novel with a convincing political core.’

‘This is a beautifully drawn account of a family collapsing under an unbearable loss ... Pivoted on a death, this novel becomes a life-affirming story of love - a cluttered, clumsy family love that colours the characters and wills them into keeping on and moving forward. And it is this driving emotion that ultimately makes Shilo's first novel so readable and so engaging.’ Rachel Shabi

‘With extraordinary talent, Sara Shilo has written a deep and accomplished novel, one which creates an entire world - rich, shocking and heart-wrenching - the likes of which I have never met before in Hebrew literature’ David Grossman

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