The Deserter

Peter Bourne

18 October 2011
400 pages


Powerful and sensitively told, The Deserter is the debut novel from Peter Bourne, exploring the complexities of family and political tensions within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Lev Dubnow, a middle-aged Jewish doctor, returns to Israel after some years away to attend his father's wake. He is shocked and deeply unsettled by what he finds.

Taking a trip up through the West Bank, Lev comes face-to-face with the dark, potentially dangerous atmosphere of fear and suspicion that prevails there.

After witnessing the daily currency of careless humiliation and intimidation, and after becoming involved in a number of incidents, he is eventually moved to voluntarily provoke a confrontation. And it is one which will have devastating, lasting consequences for him.

From Lev's difficult entry into Israel, his meetings with members of his family – each with a different perspective on the Arab-Israeli conflict – through his renewed appraisal of the Jerusalem he once knew, this is a memorable, profound narrative immersed in the complexities of the region.