Singularly creepy . . . Blau, an award-winning playwright in Israel, wades bravely . . . into issues of sex, religion and aging. The mystery is absorbing, but so is the passionate debate over how the world views women who decide not to have children — and how they view themselves.” Sarah Lyall, New York Times Book Review
“The Others had me hooked from page one. A riveting thriller that made me squirm, laugh, and think, often all at once, this book makes us question everything we thought we knew about women, not to mention the Bible, even as we race to find out what happens. Sarah Blau has written a novel as smart as it is scintillating. I adored it.”Anna Solomon, author of The Book of V.
“A dark and funny page-turner.”Ayelet Gundar-Goshen, author of Waking Lions
“Fascinating . . . A compelling and often disturbing narrative. Is Sheila the culprit, the next victim or some combination thereof? The Others will keep readers guessing as it considers the damaging effects of societal pressure, unresolved resentment, and lingering guilt.”BookPage
“Brashly original . . . The twisty, often sardonic narrative shifts neatly between the ongoing investigation and secrets of the women’s emotionally fraught past. Blau offers a revealing glimpse into a world not often seen outside her homeland.”Publishers Weekly
“Steeped in the stories of the bible, this razor-sharp thriller combines propulsive narrative with subtle, insightful commentary on identity, gender roles and the different ways we contend with loss. Engrossing and thought-provoking, with a strong sense of place and a set of complex, unforgettable characters, The Others will live with you long after putting the book down.”Daniela Petrova, author of Her Daughter's Mother
“A fast-paced thriller that wrestles with nuanced questions of femininity in relation to Judaism, aging, and motherhood…Blau’s writing is stark and evocative – every word feels intentional and carefully chosen. At once tense and tender, this novel isn’t afraid to embrace the nuance of its complex central questions . . . an excellently crafted narrative, with a payoff that is both satisfying and haunting.”Jewish Book Council
“The story is deeply rooted in, and frequently references, childless Biblical women . . . Blau’s depictions of the envy that festers between the friends are darkly engaging.” Kirkus Reviews
“A daring, darkly-alluring psychological thriller, undoing one of the very foundations of Jewish and Israeli culture, the myth of motherhood. Sarah Blau’s subversive and original voice resonates through every line of The Others, placing her in the front row of contemporary Israeli literature.” Ruby Namdar, author of The Ruined House
“Wickedly entertaining with an undercurrent of poignant insight, The Others is unlike anything else you’ll read this year. It uses the twisted trappings of its genre to deftly examine questions of choice, culpability and motherhood in ways both unique and unpredictable. Don’t miss it.” Gabriel Bergmoser, author of The Hunted
“The Others is a meaningful and original take on one of the most emotionally charged and complex issues in society - the expectation for women to bear children. Filled with tension and thrill and pitch-perfect characters, this is a convincing and enviable mystery.”Assaf Gavron, author of The Hilltop
PRAISE FROM ISRAEL:
"So witty, eloquent and riveting you want to lock your door while reading it."Haaretz
"The Others has the makings of a hit... It's both fun and intelligent, with neither coming at the expense of the other." Morning Show, Tel Aviv Radio
"Blau does not write delicately, but rather blows up the place with thunder and fireworks."Hagar Yanai, Galei Tzahal radio
Women without children fear for their lives.
In college, Sheila and her three best friends make a pact to never have children. They call themselves the “Others,” after the childless women in the Bible, and for the most part keep to the pact. But now a few decades have passed, and Sheila’s friends start showing up dead: first Dina, the intimidating leader of the group, and then the others. Blau’s novel makes an earnest attempt at suspense and occasionally achieves it. Sheila is a difficult character to empathize with, though, or even to fully believe in: She’s focused more on flirting with the handsome young detective than on the idea that she might be his primary suspect—or the next murder victim. Her inner monologues often strain credulity. Then, too, Blau’s dialogue frequently feels canned (“I’d watch it if I were you,” Sheila says), and Sheila’s realizations are unoriginal, to say the least: “I guess it’s true what they say,” she thinks at one point, “love really does screw with your head.” Blau certainly has the makings of an interesting idea here: The story is deeply rooted in, and frequently references, childless Biblical women like Lilith or Miriam the prophetess. And Blau’s depictions of the envy that festers between the friends are darkly engaging. But because the threat at the center of the novel—the ritualized murders that first brought the detective calling—never feels real, the story itself never gets off the ground. Likewise, the moral conundrum that each of the women faces—whether or not to have children—is never fully explored, though Blau frequently mentions it. She seems to prefer to skate across the surface.
An occasionally suspenseful story gets bogged down.