Ben-Naftali’s The Teacher takes us through a keenly crafted, fictional biography for Elsa—from childhood through adolescence, from the Holocaust to her personal aftermath—and brings us face to face with one woman’s struggle in light of one of history’s great atrocities.
"a vivid, meticulously crafted look at trauma’s legacy"—Hephzibah Anderson, The Guardian
"A poignant memorial to someone whom no one remembers. . . . absorbing and well crafted."—The New York Times
"This heartbreaking novel is highlighted by Ben-Naftali’s spare prose and insightful observations. The author seamlessly blends history and fiction to forge a riveting novel."—Publishers Weekly
"a shattering portrayal of utter loneliness, guilt, and despair."—New York Journal of Books
"Winner of the Sapir Prize, one of Israel's highest literary honors, Ben-Naftali's haunting tale portrays a vanished woman finally found. Translator Zamir provides a vivid translation."—Terry Hong, Booklist
"At the intriguing intersection of history with humanity lies Michal Ben-Naftali’s The Teacher, a powerful peek into the psychology of trauma and a great book club pick for those seeking a challenging, deep discussion."—Jessie Horness, Foreword Reviews
"History, memory, and speculation converge in Michal Ben-Naftali’s The Teacher. It’s at times reminiscent of Philip Roth’s American Pastoral in the way that the blurred boundaries between these genres is a feature rather than a bug. Ben-Naftali begins with the death of a beloved teacher, and gradually reveals the story of a life abounding with historical trauma and impossible ethical decisions."—Tobias Carroll, Words Without Borders