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Blame and forgiveness in David Bezmozgis' 'The Betrayers'
Blame and forgiveness in David Bezmozgis' 'The Betrayers'

What does the novelist do in the face of history? Such a question, notes David Bezmozgis in his essay "The Novel in Real Time," once made Philip Roth worry about contemporary fiction, which he feared might be overwhelmed by "our absurd and almost unaccountable reality." Bezmozgis' new novel "The Betrayers" is a case in point: the story of an Israeli politician who, on the losing side in a dispute over settlements, flees Tel Aviv with his young girlfriend for Yalta, in the Ukraine, where as a boy he spent a glorious summer with his parents. In the real world, of course, Israel exploded in conflict in recent months, as did the Ukraine. On the one hand,...