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Publisher's Summary

A compact saga of love, duty, family, and sacrifice from a rising star whose fiction is "self-assured, elegant, perceptive . . . and unflinchingly honest" (New York Times)

These incandescent pages give us one fraught, momentous day in the life of Baruch Kotler, a Soviet Jewish dissident who now finds himself a disgraced Israeli politician. When he refuses to back down from a contrary but principled stand regarding the settlements in the West Bank, his political opponents expose his affair with a mistress decades his junior, and the besieged couple escapes to Yalta, the faded Crimean resort of Kotler's youth. There, shockingly, Kotler comes face-to-face with the former friend whose denunciation sent him to the Gulag almost 40 years earlier.

In a whirling 24 hours, Kotler must face the ultimate reckoning, both with those who have betrayed him and with those whom he has betrayed, including a teenage daughter, a son facing his own moral dilemma in the Israeli army, and the wife who once campaigned to secure his freedom and stood by him through so much.

Stubborn, wry, and self-knowing, Baruch Kotler is one of the great creations of contemporary fiction. An aging man grasping for a final passion, he is drawn inexorably into a crucible that is both personal and biblical in scope.

In prose that is elegant, sly, precise, and devastating in its awareness of the human heart, David Bezmozgis has rendered a story for the ages, an inquest into the nature of fate and consequence, love and forgiveness. The Betrayers is a high-wire act, a powerful tale of morality and sacrifice that will haunt readers long after they turn the final page.

©2014 David Bezmozgis (P)2014 Hachette

Critic Reviews

"In this taut, fierce, forensically insightful novel, David Bezmozgis explores the frictions between goodness and kindness, public and private virtue, forgiveness and forgetting. Compulsive and profound." (A. D. Miller, finalist for the Man Booker Award for Snowdrops)
"Scary good...Not a line or note in the book rings false." ( Esquire)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Story

Terrible ending...

It was like the author forgot to write seem ending. Not a huge fan of this book.

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  • Performance
  • Story

Brilliant novel by David Bezmozgis

I'm giving this audiobook five stars, but only because the system won't allow me to give it six. I'm not sure which was better: the captivating story that is at once character and plot driven, or the wonderful performance by the narrator that makes listening to this book almost a cinematic experience. This is a book group selection, by far my favorite in the past several years. Poignant, tragic, and yet also hilarious at times, this is a best seller for good reasons. Cannot recommend this book enough. And the narrator should win a Grammy.

  • Overall
  • Performance
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  • Beverly
  • GREENBRAE, CA, US
  • 05-03-15

Not Happy With The Betrayers

The narration was excellent, but I found the story hard to follow and uninteresting. It is about a Jew who betrayed another innocent Jew during the Holocaust who consequently went to prison for thirteen years. By accident they met thirty years later and recognized each other. How they each dealt with each other is the crux of the story.

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  • alan
  • north wales, PA, United States
  • 02-22-15

Jewish Kitsch

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

my mother

What was most disappointing about David Bezmozgis’s story?

everyone is all strong and good, except for the bad guy

Which scene was your favorite?

the villain, constructing himself as a victim and turning everything to self-pity, even while he is having a stroke

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

it is short, despite the reader's glacial pace.

Any additional comments?

A short and shallow tale of god's justice delivered through Solomonic Israeli politicians, self-sacrificing sabras, resolute Israeli women, self-pitying traitors, etc. Hadassah chapters everywhere will love it, and Bezmozgis will dine out on this little book for years to come.
Now, with this crowd-pleaser behind him, he can resume his insightful accounts of the heartbreaks of immigrant life, their dislocated perspectives on their new homes in the US or Canada, and the casual cruelties they endure.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful