The Lion Seeker

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The Lion Seeker

by Kenneth Bonert

Knopf Canada | February 26, 2013 | Trade Paperback

The Lion Seeker is rated 3 out of 5 by 2.

A brawny, brilliant debut novel about the epic struggles of an immigrant son in a darkening world.
Johannesburg, South Africa. The Great Depression. In this harsh new country, young Isaac Helger burns with fiery determination— to break out of the inner city, to buy his scarred mother the home she longs for, to find a way to realize her dream of reuniting a family torn apart. But there are terrible, unspoken secrets of the past that will haunt him as he makes his way through a society brutalized by racism, as he loses his heart to an unattainable girl from the city’s wealthiest heights and his every exit route from poverty dead-ends. When the threat of the Second World War insinuates itself with brutal force into Isaac’s reality, he will face the most important choice of his life . . . and will have to learn to live with the consequences.
 
In this extraordinarily powerful novel, Kenneth Bonert brings alive the world of South African Jewry in all its raw energy and ribald vernacular. Comedic, searing, lyrical and with a snap-perfect ear for dialogue, The Lion Seeker is a profoundly moral exploration of how wider social forces shape us and shatter us, echoing through history with lessons that are no less relevant today than in the crucible of its time.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 576 pages, 9 × 6.2 × 1.1 in

Published: February 26, 2013

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307362132

ISBN - 13: 9780307362131

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Gritty Read Full disclosure: I went to university with the author. We were friendly but not close. Wanting to support a classmate, I was happy to read The Lion Seeker but was completely unprepared with how impressed I would be with this book. It speaks of a time that I know a little of and a place of which I was largely ignorant. The writing was fluid, capturing the disjointedness that real people often speak it. The story spans two continents, the Great Depression, the Second World War and beyond. It covers world events as well as the major and minor dramas in a family with too many secrets and not enough honesty. The reviewer below is welcome to his/her opinion but that review does make me wonder why a work of historical fiction should be taken as a historical document.
Date published: 2015-03-23
Rated 1 out of 5 by from didn't match what was in the book. I bought this book specifically because it was about jews in South Africa during the depression. My father grew up in Doornfontein. I wanted to get an understanding of what it was like in Johannesburg at that time. This book didn't convey any real images of what it was like to live there. The writing was choppy and the dialogue confusing and at times very irritating. There was all sorts of slang and other languages in the mix which made it difficult to follow. The writing didn't really develop the characters and didn't give me any idea of who they really were. I had difficulty finishing the book.
Date published: 2014-05-24

– More About This Product –

The Lion Seeker

by Kenneth Bonert

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 576 pages, 9 × 6.2 × 1.1 in

Published: February 26, 2013

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307362132

ISBN - 13: 9780307362131

From the Publisher

A brawny, brilliant debut novel about the epic struggles of an immigrant son in a darkening world.
Johannesburg, South Africa. The Great Depression. In this harsh new country, young Isaac Helger burns with fiery determination— to break out of the inner city, to buy his scarred mother the home she longs for, to find a way to realize her dream of reuniting a family torn apart. But there are terrible, unspoken secrets of the past that will haunt him as he makes his way through a society brutalized by racism, as he loses his heart to an unattainable girl from the city’s wealthiest heights and his every exit route from poverty dead-ends. When the threat of the Second World War insinuates itself with brutal force into Isaac’s reality, he will face the most important choice of his life . . . and will have to learn to live with the consequences.
 
In this extraordinarily powerful novel, Kenneth Bonert brings alive the world of South African Jewry in all its raw energy and ribald vernacular. Comedic, searing, lyrical and with a snap-perfect ear for dialogue, The Lion Seeker is a profoundly moral exploration of how wider social forces shape us and shatter us, echoing through history with lessons that are no less relevant today than in the crucible of its time.

About the Author

KENNETH BONERT''s short stories have appeared in Grain and The Fiddlehead. His story "Packers and Movers" was shortlisted for the Journey Prize and his novella "Peacekeepers, 1995" appeared in McSweeney''s 25. The Lion Seeker is his first novel. A one-time journalist, his articles have appeared in the Globe and Mail, National Post and other publications. Born in South Africa, he now calls Toronto home.

Editorial Reviews

WINNER 2015 – Jewish Book Council Choice Award FINALIST 2015 – Jewish Book Council Sami Rohr Prize WINNER 2014 – Canadian Jewish Book Award in Fiction, a category of the Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Awards WINNER 2013 – Edward Lewis Wallant Award WINNER 2013 – National Jewish Book Award for Outstanding Debut Fiction FINALIST 2013 – Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction “ The Lion Seeker …adds to the unique diversity in Canadian literature…. Mazel tov, Kenneth Bonert, you have written a blockbuster of a book.” —Jennifer Hunter, Toronto Star   “Bonert’s prose is sharp and masterful, clipping along at a breathless pace while still managing to wow us with imagery, clever turns of phrase and believable dialogue peppered with several languages.” —Zoe Whittall, The Globe and Mail   “Strikingly assured debut…. The Lion Seeker is astonishingly mature, admirably incautious. It moves with the sleight-of-hand of the born artist, ramping up for naked tugs at the heart. It would make a terrific film. It’s visually and thematically sweeping, rich with diverse personalities, packed with tender waves and roiling crests of love, loss, hope, hatred.” —Jim Bartley, National Post “This powerful novel begins with a mystery that propels its characters through their difficult lives in prewar South Africa and haunts their actions until a
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