"Lazar knows how to paint the brief vivid picture, and draws the reader into a beguiling air of lost connections...." -James Wood, The New Yorker
In 1972, American gangster Meyer Lansky petitions the Israeli government for citizenship. His request is denied, and he is returned to the U.S. to stand trial. He leaves behind a mistress in Tel Aviv, a Holocaust survivor named Gila Konig.
In 2009, American journalist Hannah Groff travels to Israel to investigate the killing of an Israeli writer. She soon begins to connect the dots between Lansky, Gila, the murdered writer, and her own father, finding herself inside a web of violence that takes in the American and Israeli Mafias, the biblical figure of King David, and the modern state of Israel. Part crime story, part spiritual quest, I PITY THE POOR IMMIGRANT is "a novel that does the work of a hundred history books."*