The Luminous Heart of Jonah S. Summary and Reviews

The Luminous Heart of Jonah S.

by Gina B. Nahai

The Luminous Heart of Jonah S. by Gina B. Nahai X
The Luminous Heart of Jonah S. by Gina B. Nahai
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  • Published Oct 2014
    380 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

From Tehran to Los Angeles, The Luminous Heart of Jonah S. is a sweeping saga that tells the story of the Soleymans, an Iranian Jewish family tormented for decades by Raphael's Son, a crafty and unscrupulous financier who has futilely claimed to be an heir to the family's fortune. Forty years later in contemporary Los Angeles, Raphael's Son has nearly achieved his goal - until he suddenly disappears, presumed by many to have been murdered. The possible suspects are legion: his long-suffering wife; numerous members of the Soleyman clan exacting revenge; the scores of investors he bankrupted in a Ponzi scheme; or perhaps even his disgruntled bookkeeper and longtime confidant.

Award-winning novelist Gina B. Nahai pulls back the curtain on a close-knit community that survived centuries of persecution in Iran before settling and thriving in the United States, but now finds itself divided to the core by one of its own members. By turns hilarious and affecting, The Luminous Heart of Jonah S. examines the eternal bonds of family and community, and the lasting scars of exile.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A riveting tale....Readers will be well rewarded." - Publishers Weekly

"An energetically inventive epic...Nahai's boisterous, sardonic, sometimes-lurid portrait of a community and the devil in its midst offers unusual, engrossing storytelling." - Kirkus

"With The Luminous Heart of Jonah S., Orange Prize and IMPAC Award finalist Gina B. Nahai returns after seven years with another novel of bristly beauty, offering a distinctive look at Iranian Jewish life in America." - Library Journal, Books for the Masses/Editors' Picks BEA 2014

"Gina B. Nahai has written a brilliant, funny, poignant, and thrilling novel about an Iranian Jewish family's struggle to find its identity in exile in America. Part murder mystery, part comic novel, The Luminous Heart of Jonah S. is a book you will not be able to put down." - Reza Aslan, author of Zealot and No god but God

"Gina B. Nahai uses her gift for storytelling to add to the pantheon of American immigrant tales, but this time with an Iranian Jewish twist. This novel not only entertains, but asks the bigger question: do immigrants reinvent themselves in America or simply live out their destinies?" - Firoozeh Dumas, author of Funny in Farsi

"Gina B. Nahai has given us a remarkable new work - part murder mystery, part lyrical novel, part sociological study of Iranian Jewish culture between Tehran and LA. Her sections on old Jewish Iran are simply transcendent; her insights into the Iranian exile culture in California, its excesses and vulnerabilities, are fascinating to read. Bravo." - Lucette Lagnado, author of The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit and The Arrogant Years

This information about The Luminous Heart of Jonah S. was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Gina B. Nahai

Gina B. Nahai is a best-selling author, columnist, and full-time lecturer at USC's Master of Professional Writing Program. Her novels have been translated into eighteen languages, and have been selected as "Best Books of the Year" by the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has also been a finalist for the Orange Prize, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and the Harold U. Ribalow Prize, and has won the Los Angeles Arts Council Award, the Persian Heritage Foundation's Award, the Simon Rockower Award, and the Phi Kappa Phi Award. Her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles magazine, Publishers Weekly, and the Huffington Post, among others. She writes a monthly column for the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, and is a three-time finalist for an LA Press Club Award. Nahai holds a BA and a Masters degree in International Relations from UCLA, and a Master of Professional Writing from USC. She,s a former consultant for the Rand Corporation, and a frequent lecturer on the politics of pre- and postrevolutionary Iran. The Luminous Heart of Jonah S. is her latest novel.

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