by Yishai Sarid
translated by Yardenne Greenspan ’12
Published by Restless Books (2022)
The tenacious narrator of Yishai Sarid’s Victorious is Abigail, a military psychologist and single mother who has spent her career in the Israeli army. A leading expert in the psychology of combat, Abigail helps soldiers negotiate the trauma of war while instructing commanders on best practices for killing with resilience and efficacy.
As her son Shauli approaches the age for military service, Abigail becomes increasingly involved in the lives of the army’s Chief of Staff and those of her patients, and the lines between her personal beliefs and her profession begin to blur. Meanwhile, Abigail’s deeply moral father, a clinical psychologist himself, openly condemns her choice to aid Israel's military machine. Yet Abigail sees her work as a calling and her patriotic duty. Only when gentle-hearted Shauli enlists in the elite and dangerous paratrooper unit are Abigail’s own mental defenses finally breached.
As he did in his acclaimed novel The Memory Monster, Yishai Sarid unmasks the contradictions at the heart of patriotism, national identity, and the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. Victorious is a riveting, provocative inquiry into modern warfare that forces us to ask: What price are we willing to pay for victory?