The English Teacher

A Novel
Narrated by: Charlotte Albanna
Length: 8 hrs and 28 mins
4 out of 5 stars (120 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Soon to be the major motion picture The Operative, starring Martin Freeman and Diane Kruger.

For listeners of John le Carré and viewers of Homeland, a slow-burning psychological spy thriller by a former brigadier general of intelligence in the Israeli army. 

After attending her father's funeral, former Mossad agent Rachel Goldschmitt empties her bank account and disappears. But when she makes a cryptic phone call to her former handler, Ehud, the Mossad sends him to track her down. Finding no leads, he must retrace her career as a spy to figure out why she abandoned Mossad before she can do any damage to Israel. But he soon discovers that after living undercover for so long, an agent's assumed identity and her real one can blur, catching loyalty, love, and truth between them. In the midst of a high-risk, high-stakes investigation, Ehud begins to question whether he ever knew his agent at all. 

In The English Teacher, Yiftach R. Atir drew on his own experience in intelligence to weave a psychologically nuanced thriller that explores the pressures of living under an assumed identity for months at a time. 

©2016 Yiftach Reicher Atir (P)2016 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"An extraordinary page turner, told with clarity, insight, and compassion, The English Teacher offers a rare and realistic portrait of the unrelenting sacrifices of living a double life." (Gideon Raff)
"[Yiftach R. Atir] probes how leading a double life can erode the foundations of a spy's former existence; how all of the lies are rooted in truth, and the truth, especially when it comes to love, is often coated with a patina of lies.... Masterful." ( The Times of Israel)
"The book...does exactly what a novel of its kind should do: re-examine the Mossad. Throughout the book...doubts are cast on personal as well as national morality.... Atir seeks to pinpoint the fine line separating the moral actions that operatives perform for their country and their own exploitation." ( Ha'aretz)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

The Good and the Bad

The Washington Post named this mystery novel one of the top 10 of 2016. I agree that the story was well written and interesting; however, while the narrator had a good voice and did an adequate job, her lack of energy throughout much of the story did a disservice to the author and the listeners. Overall, still a good audiobook.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Powerful suspense story

This is not a feel good happy ending spy story. It's a powerful and seemingly truthful account of an agent caught between a real life which holds nothing for her and a False life that she creates containing all that she loves. Well written and well read.

3 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Don't , just don't.

No big story, nothing special, no character building. I waited and waited then it's over.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Psychological spy novel

I found I couldn't stop listening to this, so once I caught on to what kind of book it was, I enjoyed it. Once you accept it's more about the inner experience of being a spy, especially as a woman, it makes sense. The focus is different than many other spy novels, but it seemed believable most of the time, with a couple of exceptions. I especially liked how the author made reference to John Le Carre's Little Drummer Girl in a very clever way, because seasoned spy novel readers likely would be thinking of it and comparing them early in the novel.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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In the leauge of "I am pilgrim "

If you want to feel what kind of nightmare the agents live this will swollow-you!

3 people found this helpful

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A superb story

I recently watched the English Teacher movie which left a number of things unfinished for me thus I wanted to listen to the story.
Amazing what spies actually go through.

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What an amazing and surprising treat...

This book was an exceptional listen. It perfectly captures the tension and sheer emotional torture that undercover agents endure.

Highly recommended.

KRD NY

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Finished only for a book club

Very disappointing. Nothing interesting or exciting or meaningful about the story. The narrator’s attempt to use accents was really annoying.

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slow moving

too slow paced, narrator was very boring, followed book about an hour or 2 could not finish it

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Unique, captivating and thought-provoking.

Very different from the usual spy thriller genre. It's stark, dark and realistic. No good guys. No bad guys. Just human beings.