Synopses & Reviews
This epic, enthralling debut novel—in the vein of Nicole Krauss The History of Love
—follows a postwar love triangle between an American rabbi, his wife, and a German-Jewish refugee. Spanning seventy years and several continents, this novel explores the boundaries of desire, marriage, and faith.
Berlin, 1938: Walter Westhaus lies in bed with his fiancée, dreaming of a better future, and quoting lines from the Song of Songs. The strains of his fathers flute can be heard from the next room. Suddenly, glass shatters, shots ring out, and Walter is alone. Haunted by trauma, yet open to serendipity, Walter escapes to India, and spends the war years at an ashram.
New York City, 1946: Sol and Rosalie are a couple in harmony: Sol is a promising student at the Jewish Theological Seminary while Rosalie, a rabbis daughter, is a fierce intellect in her own right. They cant wait to be married and lead a suburban congregation. But everything changes when an enigmatic refugee named Walter arrives, sniffing exotic spices and quoting the poetry of Tagore.
A brilliant nonbeliever, Walter is the perfect foil for Sols spiritual questions—and their extraordinary connection is too wonderful not to share with the free-spirited Rosalie. Soon Walter and Rosalie have staked a spot in the back row of Sols Talmud class. There, they exchange notes, sketches, and secrets. In Walters attic room, a temple of dusty tomes and whispered poetry, Rosalie and Walter begin a transcendent love affair before retreating to opposite ends of the country—Walter to pursue an academic career and Rosalie to make a traditional life with Sol.
Years later, a chance meeting in a Jerusalem street reconnects Walter, Sol, and the woman who loves them both—catching three hearts and minds in a complex web of secret desire, heartbreak, and redemption.