Announcing our Top 20 Books of 2022

BookBrowse Reviews The World To Come by Dara Horn

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The World To Come

by Dara Horn

The World To Come by Dara Horn X
The World To Come by Dara Horn
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2006, 320 pages

    Paperback:
    Oct 2006, 320 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


Richly satisfying, utterly unique. Novel

From the book jacket: 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 parents - the father who lost a leg in Vietnam, the mother who created children's books - and 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.

Comment: Some books are amusing enough to read at the time, but lacking true substance, quickly fade from my mind. It's been some weeks since I finished The World to Come and I can safely say that this is not going to be one of those books! Dara Horn (author of In the Image, 2002) has produced a real gem of a book with a wealth of plots and sub-plots, packed full with everything from Yiddish folklore to Soviet politics. However, it is not a book that all will appreciate - I'm thinking here of readers who like their books to end neatly with all plot elements tidied up and put away. This is not such a book - without spoiling the plot, all I can say is the ending is in keeping with the Chagall painting at the center of the story!

Booklist and Publishers Weekly both give it starred reviews. Library Journal describes it as "intelligent, compelling literary fiction", while Kirkus Reviews complains that the over reliance on symbolism becomes unwieldy and the ending is 'confusing and corny' but nonetheless concludes that it is "an engrossing adventure, in spite of its flaws."

"A deeply satisfying literary mystery and a funny - sad meditation on how the past haunts the present - and how we haunt the future." - Time Magazine.

This review first ran in the January 18, 2006 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • 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 $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join and Save 20%!

Become a member and
discover exceptional books.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket
    Bewilderment
    by Richard Powers
    In 2019, Richard Powers won the Pulitzer Prize for The Overstory, a sprawling novel whose characters...
  • Book Jacket: I'm the Girl
    I'm the Girl
    by Courtney Summers
    YA author Courtney Summers doesn't believe in shielding her teenage readers from the world's darkest...
  • Book Jacket: They're Going to Love You
    They're Going to Love You
    by Meg Howrey
    Teenage Carlisle lives with her mother in Ohio, but their relationship has never felt particularly ...
  • Book Jacket: The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    by Isaac Blum
    That irreplaceable feeling of everyone knowing your name. The yearning to be anonymous. Parents ...

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Our Missing Hearts
    by Celeste Ng

    From the author of Little Fires Everywhere, a new novel about a mother’s unbreakable love in a world consumed by fear.

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

W N, W Not

and be entered to win..

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
Cradles of the Reich
by Jennifer Coburn
Three women, a nation seduced by a madman, and the Nazi breeding program to create a so-called master race.
Who Said...

We should have a great fewer disputes in the world if words were taken for what they are

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.