Badass? Not really, try “morass”.
The further I read into The Debba, the more evident it became that compelling ideas would remain unexplored, and a convoluted plot and action sequences would take precedence. Mandelman took a step back in trying to write a novel that is not quite entertaining or satisfying on a literary level.
The novel begins in Toronto, Mandelman’s home. Dooney’s Cafe is “…a community centred around a café on Toronto’s Bloor Street…” It is also a news service, go to Dooney’s Cafe for a review of The Debba…
REVIEW: Avner Mandelman’s short story collection, Talking to the Enemy, published in 2002, contains as cogent an indictment possible of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Stark prose captures the moral darkness of two peoples trying to get even by separate mandates from God, and their screeds that both descend from Abraham—what Mandelman calls a “marvelously original con job”. His characters are hard and bitter. One protagonist, after losing a son to a terrorist and subsequently retaliating in a commando assassination, sleeps with his remarried ex-wife and muses, “If you can bring yourself to share your woman, maybe one day you could also let yourself share your land.” Though perhaps overlooked in the larger context of literature, a couple of the stories were deservedly selected for Best American Short Stories, The Journey Prize Stories, the Pushcart Prize XX, as well, the collection made Kirkus Reviews top twenty-five of 2002. Thus, with much obligatory “anticipation”, I read Mandelman’s novel, The Debba, released this summer…(Entire review here)