The Forgetting River: A Modern Tale of Survival, Identity, and the Inquisition

Doreen Carvajal. Riverhead, $26.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1594487392
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Despite growing up Catholic, Carvajal never sensed the familial connection with the religion she believed she should have felt. Unable to shake that feeling, Carvajal, a Paris-based reporter for the New York Times and International Herald Tribune, moved to the old Spanish town of Arcos de la Frontera in search of her family’s “discarded identity,” believing the family was connected to the Spanish Inquisition and expulsion of Jews from Spain in the 15th and 16th centuries. As an outsider, she is slow to crack the secretive and ritualistic community, but her skills as a reporter and passion for knowledge eventually allow her to find clues hidden in plain sight in the local music, food, and architecture that point to the region’s concealed Jewish history as well as her own relationship to her new hometown. Just like her ancestors, her tale wanders the globe from the dusty archives at a California university, a DNA lab in Texas, a lawyer in Costa Rica, and a nearly 200-year-old Paris synagogue, but Carvajal’s powerful prose is strong enough to hold these divergent story lines in a cohesive and engaging narrative of self-discovery and historical investigation. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/11/2012
Release date: 08/16/2012
Paperback - 317 pages - 978-1-59463-152-8
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-101-59681-4
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