Shakespeare the Spy


 An Israeli spy narrowly escapes an assassination in the middle of the desert, before killing the assassin. Years later, in New York City, this spy bumps into his would-be killer on the street–or his exact double. But was it really the killer? And, even if it was, what should the spy do about it now?

That’s the setup for Cut Throat Dog, an Israeli novel (just released in English translation) that’s part action-adventure novel, part mystery, and part existential meditation.

Like the novel itself, the lead character is going through an identity crisis. He introduces himself to the reader as “Shakespeare,” then immediately tells a bartender to call him Hanina–the name of an ancient rabbi. In the first ten pages, Shakespeare threatens, flirts with, and beats up half a dozen people, and he uses at least as many aliases.

Although he has all the tropes of a brilliant spy–clever, reckless, romantic–Shakespeare is also dangerously unstable, drowning in the obsession of his pursuit, and trying to unlock the secrets of his own past. The only time Shakespeare really knows what he’s doing, it seems, is when he’s undercover–his identity has become so secret, it seems, that even he’s lost track of it.

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