Michael Kind is raised in the Jewish cauldron of 1920s New York, familiar with the stresses and materialism of metropolitan life. Turning to the ancient set of ethics of his Orthodox grandfather, with a modern twist, he becomes a Reform rabbi. As insecure and sexually needy as any other young male, he serves as a circuit-rider rabbi in the Ozarks, and then as a temple rabbi in the racially ugly South, in a San Francisco suburb, in a Pennsylvania college town, and finally, in a New England community west of Boston. Along the way he falls deeply in love with and marries the daughter of a Congregational minister; she converts to Judaism and they have two complex, interesting children. Noah Gordon’s picture of a brilliant and talented religious counselor—who at times is as bereft and uncertain as any of his congregants—is a deeply moving and very satisfying novel.
Yonah Toledano, the 15-year-old son of a celebrated Spanish silversmith, has seen his father and brother die during these terrible days - victims whose murders go almost unnoticed in a time of mass upheaval. Trapped in Spain by circumstances, he is determined to honor the memory of his family by remaining a Jew.
On a donkey named Moise, Yonah begins a meandering journey, a young fugitive zigzagging across the vastness of Spain. Toiling at manual labor, he desperately tries to cling to his memories of a vanished culture. As a lonely shepherd on a mountaintop he hurls snatches of almost forgotten Hebrew at the stars, as an apprentice armorer he learns to fight like a Christian knight. Finally, as a man living in a time and land where danger from the Inquisition is everywhere, he deals with the questions that mark his past. How he discovers the answers, how he finds his way to a singular and strong Marrano woman, how he achieves a life with the outer persona of a respected Old Christian physician and the inner life of a secret Jew, is the fabric of this novel. The Last Jew is a glimpse of the past, an authentic tale of high adventure, and a tender and unforgettable love story. In it, Noah Gordon utilizes his greatest strengths, and the result is remarkable and moving.
The Family Tabor, the new novel from Cherise Wolas, acclaimed author of The Resurrection of Joan Ashby
Harry Tabor is about to be named Man of the Decade, a distinction that feels like the culmination of a life well lived. Gathering together in Palm Springs for the celebration are his wife, Roma, a distinguished child psychologist, and their children: Phoebe, a high-powered attorney; Camille, a brilliant social anthropologist; and Simon, a big-firm lawyer, who brings his glamorous wife and two young daughters.
But immediately, cracks begin to appear in this smooth facade: Simon hasn’t been sleeping through the night, Camille can’t decide what to do with her life, and Phoebe is a little too cagey about her new boyfriend. Roma knows her children are hiding things. What she doesn’t know, what none of them know, is that Harry is suddenly haunted by the long-buried secret that drove him, decades ago, to relocate his young family to the California desert. As the ceremony nears, the family members are forced to confront the falsehoods upon which their lives are built.
Set over the course of a single weekend, and deftly alternating between the five Tabors, this provocative, gorgeously rendered novel, reckons with the nature of the stories we tell ourselves and our family and the price we pay for second chances.
A photo of her sons. A doormat from Target. Twenty-three tubs of fabric. Somehow it comforts Lily to list the things she lost when a wildfire engulfed the Santa Barbara avocado ranch she shared with her husband, Tom. He didn’t make it out either. His last act was to save her grandmother’s lace from the flames—an heirloom she has never been able to take scissors to, that she was saving for someday…
As she negotiates her way through her grief, mourning both the tangible and intangible, Lily wonders about her long marriage. Was it worth all the work, the self-denial? Did she stay with Tom just to avoid loneliness? Should she have been more like her mother, Eleanor— thrice-married and even now, approaching eighty, cavalier about men and, it seems, even about her daughter’s emotions?
It is up to Lily to understand what she could still gain even when it seems that everything is lost. Someday has arrived…
**Book Club Classics
This beautiful, illuminating tale of hope and courage is based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov—an unforgettable love story in the midst of atrocity.
“The Tattooist of Auschwitz is an extraordinary document, a story about the extremes of human behavior existing side by side: calculated brutality alongside impulsive and selfless acts of love. I find it hard to imagine anyone who would not be drawn in, confronted and moved. I would recommend it unreservedly to anyone, whether they’d read a hundred Holocaust stories or none.”—Graeme Simsion, internationally-bestselling author of The Rosie Project
In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.
Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.
One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.
A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov's experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.
Three young men from different backgrounds have graduated from medical schools and become surgical fellows at a leading teaching hospital in Boston. They learn to become surgeons, to communicate with patients and families, and to be observed and appraised by their peers and professors on daily rounds. And each month—sometimes with dry mouth and rapid pulse—each attends the meeting of the Mortality Conference, known to all as the Death Committee, which examines every patient loss for possible human error, in order to prevent it from happening again. How the Death Committee affects and is affected by the lives, loves, and ambitions of three new doctors is the theme of this intriguing and profoundly moving novel.