Synopses & Reviews
A million-dollar painting by Marc Chagall is stolen from a museum. The unlikely thief is Benjamin Ziskind, a thirty-year-old quiz-show writer. As Benjamin and his twin sister try to evade the police, they find themselves recalling their dead parents--the father who lost a leg in Vietnam, the mother who created children's books--and their stories about trust, loss, and betrayal.
What is true, what is fake, what does it mean? Eighty years before the theft, these questions haunted Chagall and the enigmatic Yiddish fabulist Der Nister ("The Hidden One"), teachers at a school for Jewish orphans. Both the painting and the questions will travel through time to shape the Ziskinds' futures.
With astonishing grace and simplicity, Dara Horn interweaves a real art heist, history, biography, theology, and Yiddish literature. Richly satisfying, utterly unique, her novel opens the door to "the world to come"--not life after death, but the world we create through our actions right now. Reading group guide included.
"A deeply satisfying literary mystery and a funny-sad meditation on how the past haunts the present--and how we haunt the future." Lev Grossman
"Symphonic and piercingly beautiful . . . the novel suspends us between emotions, never allowing any to become predominant, and we hang there in that indeterminate space, perfectly happy, hoping that the book will never end." Merle Rubin Wall Street Journal
Brilliantly imagined. --Merle Rubin
"Deeply sympathetic characters, an encyclopedic grasp of 20th-century history and a spiritual sense that sees through the conventional barriers between this life and the one to come--or the one before." Merle Rubin Wall Street Journal
"Horn's deft touch is often wryly funny--but never maliciously so. . . . An accomplished work that beautifully explains how families--in all their maddening, smothering, supportive glory--create us." Bethany Scneider Newsday
"Brilliantly imagined." Time
'\"Nothing short of amazing.\"\'\"Entertainment Weekly
"Nothing short of amazing."--
A million-dollar Chagall is stolen from a museum during a singles' cocktail hour. The unlikely thief, former child prodigy Benjamin Ziskind, is convinced that the painting once hung in his parents' living room. This work of art opens a door through which we discover his family's startling history--from an orphanage in Soviet Russia where Chagall taught to suburban New Jersey and the jungles of Vietnam.
About the Author
Dara Horn, the author of the novels All Other Nights, The World to Come, and In the Image, is one of Granta’s "Best Young American Novelists" and the winner of two National Jewish Book Awards. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and four children.