Thursday, August 14, 2014

From time to time I’ll come across a debut that is quite good yet it seems that the writer has been a bit tentative, not quite sure of himself or herself as an author, careful, if you will.  That is the complete opposite of Stephanie Feldman who has crafted an amazing debut encompassing Jewish mysticism, mythology, family love, and history without missing a beat.  Feldman is obviously intelligent, original, and imaginative as she flawlessly  blends mythology with our modern world (no small feat!)

At the center of the story are two sisters who grew up in New Jersey, Marjorie and Holly Burke.  At one time they were very close but are now estranged due in large part to Holly’s conversion to Orthodox Judaism to marry Nathan.  Marjorie has been spending much of her time working on a Ph.D. about the Wandering Jew, while Holly prepares for the birth of her first child, a boy whom she will call Eli.  When the girls were much younger they listened to their grandfather, Eli, tell them bedtime stories about a bearded wizard, the White Magician.

After Eli’s death Marjorie discovers a note of his which is filled with jottings seemingly part biography and part folk tale.  Her curiosity piqued Marjorie begins to investigate the notebook’s main character, the White Rebbe.  However, in the process she discovers more than she had imagined about her grandfather’s past.

Beautifully imaged, deftly delivered The Angel Of Losses is a stunning page turner - enjoy!

- Gail Cooke

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