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 parentsthe father who lost a leg in Vietnam, the mother who created
children's booksand 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.
A deeply satisfying literary mystery and a funny - sad meditation on how the
past haunts the present - and how we haunt the future.
An engrossing adventure, in spite of its flaws. Fans of art and Judaic studies will particularly enjoy this well-researched work.
Booklist - Allison Block
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.
Starred Review: Horn 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.
Library Journal - Misha Stone
Horn deftly weaves an intricate story steeped in folklore and family secrets. Along the way, readers are offered glimpses of the possibilities, allegorical and otherwise, of life's beginning and end. This is intelligent, compelling literary fiction.
Steve Stern, author of The Angel of Forgetfulness
I can't even count the ways I admire The World to Come -- everything about
the book intoxicated me. It is quite simply an astonishing achievement, and Dara
Horn is the realist of real things. I suspect it'll be a long while before I
again read a book as true as The World to Come.
Melvin Jules Bukiet, author of Strange Fire and A Faker's Dozen
Some excellent books are smart and serious; others are sweet and joyous. Amazingly, Dara Horn's The World to Come is all of the above. Ms. Horn hits every note in the literary register from historical tragedy to mystical delirium, and plays them like a master.
Binnie Kirshenbaum, author of An Almost Perfect Moment
Like a spider weaving her web -- miraculously -- Dara Horn weaves the poignant stories of lives past, lives present, and lives to come in this splendid tale of storytelling itself. A terrific yarn peopled with tender and very human characters, a page-turning mystery of the best sort: not who done it, but why.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Judith NYC A Sensitive Tale This is a wonderful book with just enough sadness and pain to be uplifting. Dara Horn takes us through a childhood of turmoil with sensitivity and grace. The fantasy work is particularly touching and leaves you wishing to believe.
Dara Horn was
inspired to write The World
To Come following an actual
theft of a Marc Chagall painting
from a museum in New York that
took place during a singles'
More about this.
The painting that Benjamin
Ziskind steals from the museum,
Study for "Over Vitebsk",
is, I assume, fictitious.
Over Vitebsk itself does
exist, and can be seen in the
Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in
New York. Vitebsk was the town
in which Chagall was born and
spent his childhood.
More about Chagall.
'Der Nister' was the pseudonym
of Pinchas Kahanovich, a Yiddish
author, philosopher, translator
and critic who was born in the
Ukraine in 1884...
When her family is destroyed in a Russian pogrom, Lillian comes to America alone, determined to make her way in a new land. When word comes that her daughter, Sophie, might still be alive, Lillian embarks on an odyssey that takes her from the world of the Yiddish theater on New Yorks Lower East Side, to Seattles Jazz District, and up...
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