Summary and book reviews of The Family Orchard by Nomi Eve

The Family Orchard

By Nomi Eve

The Family Orchard
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Oct 2000,
    328 pages.
    Paperback: Sep 2001,
    316 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

A magical, multigenerational saga encompassing two hundred years in the life of an unforgettable family--a book of love stories, ill-fated and blessed, sensuous as a dream, unfolding in a time and a place where fable is more potent than fact, where the imagination is more powerful than any truth, where the line between myth and history has all but dissolved: Jerusalem, from the early years of the nineteenth century to the present.

They left Eastern Europe for Israel and emerged, six generations later, in America: Esther, the family matriarch, who was lured by the smell of baking bread into the baker's arms; her granddaughter, Avra the thief, who stole a cow's tongue and married a man with strong fists and very fast feet; Miriam, a seamstress who sewed spells into her cloths and whose mesmerizing beauty inadvertently transformed Kovna's House of Study into a container of pure carnal frustration; the twins Zohar and Moshe, who ran across the walls of the Old City as boys, and as men faced a tragedy that would haunt their family for generations to come; Eliezer, Zohar's son, who once tried to conjure a golem in his father's garden; and Eliezer's American-born daughter, who would one day take his stories and cast a spell of her own.

Nomi Eve's debut novel is a rich tapestry of Jewish life and humor and yearning, woven from timeless themes: the evolution of family, the setting down of roots, the sorrow of immigrants and the joy of pioneers, the secrets that bind families together and the legends that sustain them. In language as uniquely vibrant as the characters who inhabit it, The Family Orchard captures the intoxications of love, tradition, and history, and the ineluctable forces that shape them. A deliciously engrossing novel, at once epic and intimate, from a storyteller of beguiling power and wisdom.

My father writes:

Rabbi Yochanan Schine, a student of the famous Chatam Sofer, was engaged to Esther Sophie Goldner Herschell, the granddaughter of the chief rabbi of the British Empire. Esther and Yochanan were my great-great-grandparents. They immigrated to Palestine and married in 1837 in Jerusalem.

I write:

Esther was pious but in a peripheral way. She knew the mitzvot, she knew to make the Sabbath holy, but she felt that there was no real harm in putting her own creative interpretation on the old rules because certainly creativity was an essential and blessed quality of Man and it would be a sin not to use it.

At first she did not like Jerusalem; she was from a long line of people who lacked sense of direction. The stony city, with all of its obscurant walls, twists and turns seemed to her a nasty place without any recognizable plan.

Three months and two days after the young couple arrived, she ventured out alone for the first time. Quickly lost, but not frightened,...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews
New York Times

An ambitious first novel...Ms. Eve is a storyteller of uncommon energy and poise.

Kirkus Reviews

Strong echoes of Aleichem and Singer sound through out this ambitious first novel. . . . Often lyrically overpowering, bountifully imagined. This isn't the Jewish One Hundred Years of Solitude, but one suspects Eve may yet be capable of producing it.

Publisher's Weekly

The city of Jerusalem is a vibrant character in its own right; and the horticultural material is explained with intriguing clarity. Thirty-one linecuts of old prints augment a most unusual novel.

Library Journal

The orchard of the title is both a citrus grove in Israel and also the metaphorical fruit from some 200 years of Jewish domestic life in Jerusalem and beyond. And what a mixed bowl it is, as depicted in this first novel. Twenty-one interlinking narratives stretch from 1837 to the present, beginning with the narrator's great-great-great-grandmother Esther, whose own grandfather is chief rabbi of the British Empire....This is a new writer to watch.

Library Journal

The orchard of the title is both a citrus grove in Israel and also the metaphorical fruit from some 200 years of Jewish domestic life in Jerusalem and beyond. And what a mixed bowl it is, as depicted in this first novel. Twenty-one interlinking narratives stretch from 1837 to the present, beginning with the narrator's great-great-great-grandmother Esther, whose own grandfather is chief rabbi of the British Empire....This is a new writer to watch.

Reader Reviews
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked The Family Orchard, try these:

  • Casa Rossa jacket

    Casa Rossa

    by Francesca Marciano

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    From the duplicity of Italy's role in the thirties to the dark years of terrorism in our own times, and moving from Rome and Southern Italy to New England and New York City, Casa Rossa is a brilliant weave of lives and memories: an enthralling novel.

  • Children of the Jacaranda Tree jacket

    Children of the Jacaranda Tree

    by Sahar Delijani

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    A stunning debut novel set in post-Revolutionary Iran that gives voice to the men, women, and children who won a war only to find their lives–and those of their descendants - imperiled by its aftermath

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Take This Man
    Take This Man
    by Brando Skyhorse
    "A chorus of six men calling me Son might sound ludicrous to you, but to me it's the sound of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Hundred-Year House
    The Hundred-Year House
    by Rebecca Makkai
    Rebecca Makkai's sophomore novel The Hundred-Year House could just have easily been titled ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"


    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Arsonist
by Sue Miller

Published Jun. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  132Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.