The Lawgiver: Book summary and reviews of The Lawgiver by Herman Wouk

The Lawgiver

A Novel

By Herman Wouk

The Lawgiver
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  • Published in USA  Nov 2012,
    256 pages.

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Book Summary

For more than fifty years, legendary author Herman Wouk has dreamed of writing a novel about the life of Moses. Finally, at age ninety-seven, he has found an ingeniously witty way to tell the tale in The Lawgiver, a romantic and suspenseful epistolary novel about a group of people trying to make a movie about Moses in the present day. The story emerges from letters, memos, e-mails, journals, news articles, recorded talk, Skype transcripts, and text messages.

At the center of The Lawgiver is Margo Solovei, a brilliant young writer-director who has rejected her rabbinical father's strict Jewish upbringing to pursue a career in the arts. When an Australian multibillionaire promises to finance a movie about Moses if the script meets certain standards, Margo does everything she can to land the job, including a reunion with her estranged first love, an influential lawyer with whom she still has unfinished business.

Two other key characters in the novel are Herman Wouk himself and his wife of more than sixty years, Betty Sarah, who, almost against their will, find themselves entangled in the Moses movie when the Australian billionaire insists on Wouk's stamp of approval.

As Wouk and his characters contend with Moses and marriage, and the force of tradition, rebellion, and reunion, The Lawgiver reflects the wisdom of a lifetime. Inspired by the great nineteenth-century novelists, one of America's most beloved twentieth-century authors has now written a remarkable twenty-first-century work of fiction.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Wouk has been trying to come up with a way to write a novel about Moses ever since he wrote The Caine Mutiny, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1952. At age 97, the venerated author of panoramic best-sellers finally takes on the challenge of portraying the biblical lawgiver.Brisk, funny, and incisive, Wouk's romantic comedy of art versus love slyly updates the story of the beloved star of his indelible novel Marjorie Morningstar (1955), while nimbly (at last!) retelling the story of Moses." - Booklist

"At 97, Wouk (Marjorie Morningstar; The Winds of War) has created a tale that, for all its modern trappings (it's told in e-mails, faxes, and transcripts, and relies on the movements of the very rich and the very Hollywood), is essentially old-fashioned." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Anyone who has wrestled with sacred religious tradition of any kind, and everyone who loves a good story, should get this smart, engaging jewel of a novel as soon as possible. May Wouk have other tales in him and live to be 120!" - Library Journal

"Wouk still has plenty of enthusiasm for assembling the broad cast of characters that marked widescreen works like The Winds of War. The difference here is how it results in a weak, shtick-y assemblage of riffs on a fickle God and stereotypical film impresarios. A breezy romp about movies and religion that gives both short shrift." - Kirkus

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Author Information

Herman Wouk Author Biography

©hermanwouk.com

Herman Wouk is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of over twenty works, including The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War, and War and Remembrance. He earned his living as a scriptwriter for Fred Allen before serving in World War II. His career as a novelist spans nearly six decades. He lives in Palm Springs, California.

From the author's website

Link to Herman Wouk's Website

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