The Angel of Losses by Stephanie Feldman
Fiction, magical realism
Years ago, Eli Burke told his grand daughters, Marjorie and Holly, stories about the magical White Rebbe. As adults, Marjorie is studying instances of the Wandering Jew in literature and Holly has converted to Orthodox Judaism in order to marry Nathan, a man the rest of the family can’t stand. After their grandfather dies, four notebooks are found that show that his stories of The White Rebbe may not imaginary. Marjorie wants to get the journals for herself to trace her grandfather’s secret history and to see how it may tie in to her thesis. Nathan wants the journals because he believes that they may contain the key to mystical Jewish knowledge that may save the life of their sick son.
I found the stories written in the journals to be the most interesting part of this book. They trace Eli’s story from Nazi-occupied Lithuana to present day New York City. I couldn’t always follow the present day story very well, especially when it got into more of the magical aspects. Maybe if I was more familiar with Jewish folklore I would have followed it better.
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