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Eternal Life

by Dara Horn

Eternal Life by Dara Horn X
Eternal Life by Dara Horn
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Jan 23, 2018
    256 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Mark O. (Wenatchee, WA)

A contender for your short shelf.
If you are a collector of wonderful sentences you might want to read Eternal Life, by Dara Horn, with a highlighter or notebook in hand. Much of the book is an immersion -- sights, sounds, smells, textures -- in first-century Jewish communities. This deep backstory is seamlessly woven through present time. The storyline is a carrier wave for Big Questions about life and death and the persistence of memory. In this book's nearly geological sense of time, I was simultaneously depressed by the smallness of human lives and inspired to live more largely. I found the ending at first surprising and then inevitable. If your life has too many good books and too little time, Eternal Life could be a contender for your short shelf.
Carole P, Town Library Ma.

eternal life by dara horn
Rachel is old. Really old. Like over 2000 years old; and try as she might, she cannot die. She has married over and over again. Borne hundreds of children. She has buried them all. 2000 years earlier she committed an act that gave her eternal life. Now she cannot escape it.

This is an unusual, exceptional book. The writing just flows. It is much more than just a story of a woman who can't die. Bonds between mother and child, husband and wife , faith and grief are all part of this tale. Most of all, it is about love and life. While this is not my typical book, the plot description drew me in. It sounded fascinating and it was. It was also just a lovely read!
Rory A. (Ventura, CA)

Sit back and stare into one incredible universe.
One of the reasons we read is for those moments in which we sit back with a book and think, "Where did this come from?! Where has this author been in life and in the imagination?"

Dara Horn's latest novel, "Eternal Life" is exactly like that. At one time or another, we all have surely thought about what we might do if we were immortal, how much more time we would have for the things we might not have time for in our finite lives.

But for Rachel, it's ancient Jerusalem devastated by the Romans. It's giving birth to and seeing all of her children eventually die. How could we mere mortals even stand that?

It's Rachel's journey through this, what she has seen, and what she sees in the present day through that past, that makes this a thoughtful, constantly probing novel that will make you really think about life as we are living it, and just be amazed at Rachel's tenacity in the process. Amazing work.
Maggie R. (Canoga Park, CA)

Really a 6 star book for me
Maybe it helps to be "old" to truly appreciate this book. I've been reflecting lately on the wonder of seeing the lives of others develop - sometimes in surprising ways. I also have thought the main downside of dying is not knowing "the rest of the story". (That's the reader in me.) Rachel's life is very long and her experiences are painful, exhausting, isolating but also transporting. Don't miss this book.
Annie P. (Murrells Inlet, SC)

Eternal Life by Dara Horn - An exciting trip
Rachel is immortal and with so many lives already lived, difficult to understand at times, but you want to hold her hand and run with her to the next "version".
Dara Horn's style of writing is so refreshing, her story so demanding that I got up in the middle of the night just to find out what happens next. Her wordplay of description and simile, English and Hebrew, slang from today and ancient times all mixed together and flowing like a river of song, easy on the eye and the mind, stirring interest so much that I could hardly wait to turn the page, but then went back and reread what I had just devoured.
EL is a book of fantasy but it's also of could be, and of why not. So much is possible now that never was thinkable in the past, and so much of the past is inscrutable that this is a distinct possibility. I am going to look differently at people after reading this book, and wonder if he or she is another Rachel.
This is the first time I've read a book by Dara Horn – but it certainly won't be the last!
Catherine O. (Altavista, VA)

The Downside to Immortality
Immortality is certainly not a new theme in literature, yet Dara Horn puts an interesting spin on the theme in Eternal Life. The main characters of Rachel and Elazar did not choose immortality because they wanted to live forever, but rather accepted immortality as the price paid for a bargain Rachel chose for them. The author holds your interest through believable modern and ancient problems and situations that the main characters face. As the person who chooses books for our local book club, I would choose Eternal Life for the lively discussion it would generate. I would recommend this unique, positive book to readers of all ages.
Celia A. (Takoma Park, MD)

Making Eternal Life worth it
I loved this book. I've read most of Dara Horn's novels, and this one ranks near the top for me. To buy into the idea that somebody can trade their death in a vow to God, and thus live forever, you have to do some serious suspension of disbelief. But once you do that, the struggles that Rachel faces ring true. If you live forever, you have to repeatedly watch people you love die. And you have to leave people behind when they get too close to your secret. But every time she begins again, Rachel finds ways to make her life that doesn't end worth living. The lessons she learns could help us all.
Paula K. (Champaign, IL)

Being Alive
Having admired Dara Horn's previous books I looked forward eagerly to reading Eternal Life. And I was not disappointed. Far from it. In her telling of the story of a life lived for centuries Horn examines the very essence of a life. Is a life without the prospect of dying something to be wished? Is it a blessing or a curse, or something else? Rachel and Elazar traded normal life spans to save their infant son, and although their love for each other intersected throughout the ages, they also went their separate ways, each to marry and have children time and time again; each to lose loved ones time and time again; and each to be reborn again and again. This is a powerful book of Jewish history, of mysticism, of relationships, of love, of death, and of the meaning of life. Horn cements her place as one of our most thoughtful and brilliant contemporary writers with Eternal Life, a book that takes on as many shapes as life itself.
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