I Am Forbidden

Anouk Markovits. Crown/Hogarth, $25 (320p) ISBN 978-0-307-98473-9
In this English-language debut, set around WWII, Markovits tells a story of miraculous happenings. A Hasidic boy, saved when his family is killed, in turn saves a girl whose family has tried to flee with their beloved rabbi. Returned to the remnants of the community, then separated, they reunite in Brooklyn, where the rabbi is rebuilding the Satmar community, replicating every tradition, ritual, and law of the old world. But miracles and rituals and laws—even when designed to bring followers closer to God—come at a price, and Markovits pays scrupulous attention to those as well. Tracing the Stern family from Transylvania to Paris and Brooklyn, she focuses on daughter Atara and adopted daughter Mila, closer than close, until Atara wants more than the Satmar world can offer. Atara leaves; Mila stays, desperately trying to accommodate belief and desire. When she comes up with a theological work-around, we not only sympathize but understand; it is, after all, no more tangled and self-serving than the explanation of how the rabbi made it out of Europe. Raised in a Satmar home, Markovits plays fair: the believers are not stupid; their harsh world has beauty. We dwellers in the modern world know what “should” happen, but Markovits shows why, for those in the other world, it’s not that simple. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/05/2012
Release date: 05/08/2012
Compact Disc - 978-0-449-01051-8
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-0-385-67673-1
Open Ebook - 177 pages - 978-0-307-98475-3
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-385-67674-8
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4481-1420-7
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-385-67675-5
Hardcover - 303 pages - 978-1-61173-509-3
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-307-98474-6
Compact Disc - 978-0-449-01053-2
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