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Take Up and Read

A Novel

Shimon Adaf; Translated from the Hebrew by Yardenne Greenspan


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ISBN10: 0374277974
ISBN13: 9780374277970

Trade Paperback

688 Pages



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In the summer of 2014, at the height of the Gaza-Israel conflict, Elish Ben-Zaken met the poet and librarian Nahum Farkash in the border town of Sderot. They spoke only briefly, but in that brief encounter, Elish might have missed the key to unraveling the case of a Sderot woman who disappeared for two days, only to reappear with no memory of her time away.

In Take Up and Read, Shimon Adaf returns to Farkash’s story. Attempting to defend the legacy of the singer Dalia Shoshan—whose murder Elish investigated several years before—Farkash tries to impede the production of a new documentary about her life. Meanwhile, he reminisces about his past, reflecting on his experiences as a young religious boy growing up in Sderot.

Fourteen years later, in a militant Israel that has been distorted by catastrophic war, Elish’s niece and nephew are haunted by their uncle’s death and the failure of his 2014 investigation. As Tahel and Oshri conduct experiments in search of the truth, they draw near to the heart of a great conspiracy.

In this masterful conclusion to the Lost Detective Trilogy, Shimon Adaf brings together futuristic biotechnology, parallel universes, and Jewish mysticism. Take Up and Read addresses a central concern of the trilogy, interrogating humankind’s tenuous grasp on the boundaries of our selves, and the arbitrary connections between the body, consciousness, and perception.


Praise for Take Up and Read

"Shimon Adaf is my literary hero, a fearless explorer with the endless curiosity of a child and the skill of an Old Master, combined to unleash strange and wonderful masterpieces on the world. In his Lost Detective Trilogy, what begins as conventional mystery becomes by degrees a brilliant deconstruction not just of genre but of our own search for meaning. Both profound and compulsively readable, these books demand to be devoured."—Lavie Tidhar, author of By Force Alone

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt

In the middle of comp class, one of my enemies stood up, no, in the middle of comp class my sworn enemy stood up and recited ridiculous rhymed couplets that swept away the boys in the religious classroom. The topic of the essay we were instructed...

About the author

Shimon Adaf; Translated from the Hebrew by Yardenne Greenspan

Shimon Adaf was born in Sderot, Israel, and now lives in Jaffa. A poet, novelist and musician, Adaf worked for several years as a literary editor at Keter Publishing House, and has also been a writer-in-residence at Iowa University. He leads the creative writing program and lectures on Hebrew literature at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. HIs books include Mox Nox and One Mile and Two Days Before Sunset.

Yardenne Greenspan is a writer and Hebrew translator born in Tel Aviv and based in New York. Her translations have been published by Restless Books, St. Martin’s Press, Akashic, Syracuse University, New Vessel Press, Amazon Crossing, and Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Her translation of Yishai Sarid's novel The Memory Monster was selected as one of The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2020. Yardenne’s writing and translations have appeared in The New Yorker, Haaretz, Guernica, Literary Hub, Blunderbuss, Apogee, The Massachusetts Review, Asymptote, and Words Without Borders, among other publications. She has an MFA from Columbia University and is a regular contributor to Ploughshares.

Ronen Lalena

Shimon Adaf