À Auschwitz, pendant la guerre, un homme rêve éveillé. La nuit venue, pour échapper à la réalité terrifiante du camp, Shomer imagine un autre monde. Un monde crépusculaire dans lequel Wolf, un chef nazi, a été obligé de fuir à Londres. Pour survivre dans les rues crasseuses de la capitale, Wolf est devenu détective privé. Un jour, dans son bureau misérable, il reçoit une femme juive qui lui demande de retrouver sa sœur. Wolf hait les Juifs : ils sont responsables de son exil, ils hantent son présent et ses souvenirs. Mais l’ex-chantre du nazisme a désespérément besoin d’argent. Il accepte donc cette mission, qui le conduit d’humiliations en humiliations. Entre le rêveur et son personnage d’étranges liens se tissent. Et dans sa déchéance, Wolf finit aussi par devenir plus humain…
Quand Histoire et imaginaire s’entrecroisent. Un roman magistral.
A MAN LIES DREAMING, which won the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Award, is published in the UK by Hodder and in the US by Melville House. It has also been published widely in translation (see below for some of the covers). Here’s the English-language synopsis…
Deep in the heart of history’s most infamous concentration camp, a man lies dreaming. His name is Shomer, and before the war he was a pulp fiction author. Now, to escape the brutal reality of life in Auschwitz, Shomer spends his nights imagining another world — a world where a disgraced former dictator now known only as Wolf ekes out a miserable existence as a low-rent PI in London’s grimiest streets.
An extraordinary story of revenge and redemption, A Man Lies Dreaming is the unforgettable testament to the power of imagination.
Here are a few of the great reviews the novel has received so far…
‘Wild, noir-infused alternative history from genre-bender Tidhar… A wholly original Holocaust story: as outlandish as it is poignant.’ — Kirkus (Starred Review)
‘…savagely funny… A MAN LIES DREAMING, by the Israeli-born novelist Lavie Tidhar, has not been published with the fanfare bestowed on Martin Amis’s The Zone of Interest or Howard Jacobson’s J, but it is their equal for savage humour… Those who enjoy laughter in the dark will relish Tidhar’s parade of mordant ironies… This novel is weird, upsetting, unmissable.’ 5* — Telegraph
‘No one can accuse Lavie Tidhar of being risk-averse… Tidhar reveals – as he did earlier in OSAMA and to some extent in THE VIOLENT CENTURY – that he’s really less interested in the mechanistic ‘‘what-ifs’’ of conventional alternate history than he is in the interpenetration of real and invented histories, or perhaps more grandiosely in the interpenetration of art and life – even the often-demeaned art of sensational fiction or (as in the case of THE VIOLENT CENTURY) comic books. This is what makes him such an interesting writer, and what makes A MAN LIES DREAMING quite a bit more complex than it at first appears… the novel is not without a fair amount of humor, and that might well be the boldest risk Tidhar is taking here…’ — Locus
‘Everything in this genre-bender works; intriguing historical characters are worked into expertly managed plots, and the visceral noir atmosphere is juxtaposed nicely against the drawing-room world of London’s political scene.’ — Booklist (Starred Review)
‘A Chandler-esque mystery… a jarring tale of a grim, gray alternative world… Seldom will readers come across fantasy as well conceived and well written as this exceptional novel.’ — Library Journal (Starred Review)