Thursday, July 3, 2008

The World To Come

I found this book while wandering through the stacks of the library. One thing about it that appealed to me was the reference to the artist Marc Chagall. I've been to the Chagall museum in Nice, France and have seen his beautiful stained glass window at the Art Institute in Chicago.

But despite the Chagall tie, I almost put the book down when I discovered it is essentially the story of Jews, specifically displaced Yiddish speaking Russian Jews and their offspring. I don't have anything against that community, but it's pretty far removed from my own. But I'm glad I didn't put the book down.

The author, Dara Horn, weaves generational stories with essentially a MacGuffin mystery plot all in the service of talking about life and death and what separates them and what life, the arts and ultimately we mean. It was at times incredibly moving and beautiful. And while I don't agree philosophically or theologically with the author's conclusions and was frustrated by the ending, it was a worthwhile read.

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