London 1989: Michel is an undercover PLO operative hooked on painkillers and posing as a student. He is tasked by mentor Abu-Leila to find a venue for secret Palestinian-Israeli talks. But fellow student Helen, forbidden fruit in this clandestine world, is proving to be a distraction.
Michel is forced to go on the run when he takes possession of a package smuggled out of the Occupied Territories and linked to an assassination in Berlin — a package that both the Israelis and the Palestinians are desperate to get hold of.
From the streets of London, Cambridge and Berlin, to the remotest areas of Scotland, Michel must use his KGB training and Helen’s help to shake off his pursuers and stay one step ahead.
About the Author
Of English & Palestinian descent Mischa Hiller was born in England in 1962 and grew up in London, Beirut, and Dar El-Salaam. Author of Sabra Zoo (Telegram) and Shake Off (Telegram), he was a semifinalist in the 2007 Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting and winner of the 2009 European Independent Film Festival script competition for his adaptation of Sabra Zoo. He is also a runner-up in the 2006 Bridport short story competition.
'Hiller's novel has the benefit of mining every trope of the thriller genre while being absolutely original at the same time. I will read anything by Hiller from now on.'
'Powerful and thought-provoking, this is a book that stays with the reader. Mr Hiller's Shake Off is hard to shake off.'
Adam LeBor, The Economist
'Hiller's fiction joins great Arabic novels such as Love in Exile by Bahaa Taher, Egyptian winner of the inaugural "Arabic Booker" prize in 2008, and Elias Khoury's Gate of the Sun. His own strengths are understated humour and an eye for irony.'
Maya Jaggi, Guardian
'Hiller tackles complex issues with sensitivity and his portrait of a traumatised survivor is also deeply affecting ... a clever thriller ... this British-Palestinian writer is an upcoming talent to watch.'
Lucy Popescu, Independent
'Shake Offis an expertly constructed, serpentine and suspenseful novel that alternates between driven hide-and-seek sequences and numb meditations.'
'Melancholy and dreamlike, Hiller's neat upending of conventions movingly captures the realpolitik of a conflict perpetuated by the shared interests of enemies.'
'Hauntingly minimalist style ... Such writing cannot be silent about those atrocities; nor can it exploit them. Rather it is necessary to write with a sense of dedication to what cannot be written, to the simultaneously unsayable and unforgettable. Hiller's spy fiction achieves this magically, its close secret being its realism and its spirit of authenticity.'
'Few works of fiction about Palestine or Palestinians compare in quality, purity and control as those written by Mischa Hiller ... Hiller's work is essential in bringing recent Palestinian history and its unsung heroes alive stylishly and sexily'