eisenbarbe, January 14, 2010 (view all comments by eisenbarbe)
The World to Come is a compelling description of how people relate and how their actions and decisions are driven by those who came before them and those that come after. A philosophical book where "the world to come" has a few definitions, ideas and thoughts. These definitions are woven together and even though different, they all co-exist. I've been thinking about this book for three days now, reluctant to pick up my next book because I'll have to stop thinking about this one!
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AlexSaperstein, January 2, 2007 (view all comments by AlexSaperstein)
I picked this up on a whim at PDX airport waiting for my flight and it turned out to be the best book I have read in 4-5 years. There are many books I love, but very few that reach deep under my skin and guide me to see the world in a different way. This book was extraordinary in every way. I truly was mesmerized, amazed, inspired, and profoundly moved by this novel. I will be buying many copies as gifts for those I love.
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The World to Come: A Novel
0 stars -
W. W. Norton & Company -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Former child prodigy Ben Ziskind — 5'6', 123 pounds and legally blind — steals a Marc Chagall painting at the end of an alienating singles cocktail hour at a local museum, determined to prove that its provenance is tainted and that it belongs to his family. With surety and accomplishment, Horn (In the Image) telescopes out into Ziskind's familial history through an exploration of Chagall's life; that of Chagall's friend the Yiddish novelist Der Nister; 1920s Soviet Russia and its horrific toll on Russian Jews; the nullifying brutality of Vietnam (where Ben's father, Daniel, served a short, terrifying stint); and the paradoxes of American suburbia, a place where native Ben feels less at home than the teenage Soviet refugee Leonid Shcharansky. Ben's relationship with his pregnant twin sister, Sara, a painter who eventually tries to render a forgery of the painting to return to the museum, is a damply compelling exposition of what it means to have someone biologically close but emotionally distant. Horn, born in 1977, expertly handles subplots and digressions, neatly bringing in everything from Yiddish lore to Nebuchadnezzar, Da Nang, the Venice Biennale, recent theories of child development, brutal Soviet politics and Daniel's job as a writer for fictional TV show American Genius. Characters like Erica Frank, of the Museum of Hebraic Art, give tart glimpses into still-claustrophobic Goodbye, Columbus territory, which Horn then unites with a much grander place that furnishes the book's title." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Allison Block, Booklist (starred review),
"A compelling collage of history, mystery, theology, and scripture, The World to Come is a narrative tour de force crackling with conundrums and dark truths."
by Natalie Danford, LA Times Sunday Book Review,
"Compelling and luxuriously layered... an accomplished work that beautifully explains how families — in all their maddening, smothering, supportive glory — create us."
A painting by Marc Chagall is stolen from a museum, and the unlikely thief is Benjamin Ziskind, a 30-year-old quiz-show writer. The author interweaves a real art heist, history, biography, theology, and Yiddish literature in a novel that opens the door to "the world to come"--the world created by one's actions right now.
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