The Collaborator of Bethlehem

The Collaborator of Bethlehem

by Matt Rees

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616959791
Publisher: Soho Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 09/18/2018
Series: Omar Yussef Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 389,571
Product dimensions: 4.99(w) x 7.48(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Matt Rees was born in South Wales. He lived for 20 years in Jerusalem, where he was Time magazine bureau chief. He is the author of nine novels, including three others in the Omar Yussef series, and several works of nonfiction translated into 25 languages. He lives in Luxembourg.

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Chapter 1
(Continues…)



Excerpted from "The Collaborator of Bethlehem"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Matt Rees.
Excerpted by permission of Soho Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Collaborator of Bethlehem (Omar Yussef Series #1) 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
teaperson on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A good (not great) mystery, set in the occupied West Bank. The author is a journalist, and sometimes it feels very much like he's reporting on the place (instead of channeling the actual feelings of the characters). But the story -- about an aging teacher trying to solve the killing of a young militant -- carries it along against an interesting background of the politics.
fourbears on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I first heard of this book from an NPR series on writers who set mysteries in particular cities. I liked the idea of a mystery series set on the West Bank. The author is a Welshman who¿s been a journalist in the Middle East. This is the first novel in what¿s meant to be a series.I both liked and didn¿t like this one. It was a slow read and it was often hard to tell where the story was going. On the other hand, the outcome was not in the least predictable and the author¿s version of life in the Palestinian territories of Israel was disturbing¿dismal and morally twisted¿but very interesting.The main character is Omar Yussef, an aging history teacher at a UN refugee camp. He comes from a large clan that was driven from their lands but has wisely concluded that there¿s not much point in living in the past. Omar Yussef has Christian and Muslim friends¿he¿s a Muslim himself but not a very strict one¿and encourages his children and his students to seek positive ways to build better lives for themselves even while living in the midst of violence and extreme ideology. The Martyrs Brigade is the ¿enemy¿ in this novel and the crime that opens it involves a Christian former student of Omar¿s who has been arrested as a collaborator who informed the Israeli soldiers how to find (and subsequently kill) a young man active in the resistance. He finds a few clues that give him a sense of where blame really lies and takes them to his friend, the police chief, a former terrorist with a prosthetic ¿black hand¿. The policeman, of course, tell him not to investigate and he, of course, can¿t help but continue.
-Eva- on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Normally, a story that takes place in Israel and involves its Arab population will concentrate on the struggle between the two peoples. Although that struggle is part of this story, it is not at the forefront. Rather, Rees concentrates on the internal dealings of the Palestinians in Bethlehem. Due to his having lived extensively in Israel, Rees has a lot of insight into the life of this population and it shows. The reader is introduced to characters who could easily have stepped straight off any Israeli street. Rees also uses real events and crimes in his story, although he weaves a completely fictional story around them, which creates an urgency and a sadness I don't often see in regular mysteries. The outcome is different than most other stories: although the mystery is solved and the murderer revealed, true justice may not prevail. Our "detective" is also not a police officer, but rather an old school-teacher whose emotional ties to his people and his family and friends make him take on the role of justice-seeker. It is a moral choice for him rather than an ethical and his own fragility raises the stakes of the story sky high.
reannon on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Excellent book, the first in Rees' Omar Yussef series.Yussef is an older man, a teacher in a refugee school in Bethlehem.
annbury on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A powerful novel that shows what crime fiction can be at its very best -- a riveting picture of a time and place, and a moving story of people who seem all too real. Omar Yussef is a history teacher at a UN school, a modest man who tries to maintain relationships with people, not political theories. When a Christian former pupil of his is charged with collaboration and murder, Omer sets out to prove him innocent. The effort leads him into danger, and into interlocking webs of plot and counterplot, where "good" and "bad" mean only what is politically convenient. Most of the actors are Palestinian, with the Israelis a powerful and threatening force in the background. All in all, it adds up to a chilling view of what life is like for Palestinians in the West Bank. What lifts it into the realm of literature (why can't crime fiction be serious fiction) is the humanity that remains, despite everything.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
macabr More than 1 year ago
Omar Yussef is a history teacher who has taught Muslim and Christian children in Bethlehem for many years. When THE COLLABORATOR OF BETHLEHEM opens Omar Yussef is having dinner with George, a Christian, who has just brought his family back to Palestine after living in South America, escaping the violence of Palestine. As Omar Yussef and George leave the restaurant they hear gunfire, a frequent occurrence, but this time the shots are coming from the roof of George's house and the Israelis are firing into his home where his wife, children, and father try to stay out of the line of fire. Outside of the town, a young wife, Dina, another former pupil of Omar Yussef, waits for her husband to come though the olive groves to visit her. As she watches him come out from the trees, a red light shines on his chest, a shot is fired and he dies. Louai is a member of the Martyrs Brigade, a group led by Hussein Tamari, and as a martyr, his death must be avenged quickly. George has infuriated Tamari by ordering him off the roof of his home so Tamari has George arrested, accused of collaborating with the Israelis. He is held in the town jail until a sham trial can be organized but it is a foregone conclusion that he will be executed. Omar Yussef pays a condolence call on Dina and she tells him that she heard her husband speak to a man just before he was shot, a man he called Abu Walid. The police aren't going to investigate Louai's death; they already have George in custody. Omar Yussef decides that he needs to learn the truth behind Dina's information so he can save George. When Dina is murdered, Omar Yussef realizes that to save George and avenge Dina he must find Abu Walid. Matt Rees is the former Jerusalem Bureau Chief for Time magazine. He brings to the page a picture of life in Palestine, of life in Bethlehem where Muslims and Christians live as neighbors and both live under the shadow of Israel. Bethlehem is a town of approximately 30,000 people situated on the West Bank. Omar Yussef lives with his wife, his son and daughter-in-law, and his grandchildren. He loves his wife's cooking and he loves classical music. Rees creates real people who live in circumstances that we cannot imagine but who live ordinary lives in the world as they know it. Omar Yussef is an Arab but he is secular, his social circle includes Christians, and he bears with grace the intrusion of Israeli soldiers into his town and into his home. The author does the reader a great service; Palestine is not just Gaza, it is home to people leading lives that are not so different from our own.
bossbaggs More than 1 year ago
Matt Beynon Rees offers an unbiased view of the difficult situation in Bethlehem and the West Bank. While acknowledging the harshness of the Israeli occupation, Rees refuses to paint the Palestinians as victims. Rather, he challenges the powers that be in Palestinian society, as well as, the notion that any bad behavior on the part of Palestinians is justified by bad behavior on the part of Israelis. By the way, this is a very good detective story too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TheReadingWriter More than 1 year ago
Omar Yussef, a crusty grandfather, refuses to mind his own business. Friends run into trouble in Dehaisha, a refugee camp on the outskirts of Bethlehem, and he looks into the void. This book is overwhelming in its pathos, and terrifying in its implications. This old schoolmaster, Omar Yussef, almost goes out of his way to avoid finding evidence of murder in Dehaisha, perpetrated, he believes, by a leader of the resistance. Instead he finds clues just lying about, ignored by the very people meant to serve the people and protect them from harm. His anger and fury come into focus as his family is threatened and blameless friends and colleagues accused, jailed, and murdered. I had not realized that "the gunmen" of the Palestinian resistance were so reviled from within, but it makes eminent sense. This is a novel, of course, but I think Matt Beynon Rees may be speaking to a larger truth here that is difficult to convey to those, like myself, who have turned their face from a conflict that rages with no end in sight, that doesn't make economic or political or humanitarian sense, and is sickening in its reveal of the baseness of human nature. The author has painted a grim picture of life in the settlements. He is not unkind to Israelis who, in the one appearance they make in this volume, appear rational, albeit destructive. His main character is difficult to like, he is so full of bile at a system that gives him no peace but plenty of pain. But if we walk with him a short way, we begin to see what he sees, and it is indescribably sad.