The Debt of Tamar
Posted on February 20, 2013 by Kelly
From Portugal to Istambul, to Nazi-occupied Paris and newly-established Israel, this is a sweeping saga of a novel.
Inspired by the lives of Dona Gracia Nasi and her son, Josef, the book begins there – with the secret Jews and fleeing refugees of the 16th century – but then opens up, layer upon layer to unite both the Jewish and Muslim cultures. Dweck does this deftly, reeling us in and then pulling back, so that we watch the players in this drama interact up close and from afar. The result is a parallelism of sorts: A Jewish girl forbiddenly clashes against a Muslim prince and their love has ripple effects – careening, spiraling, never stopping until centuries later it finally reaches a long-awaited conclusion.
And yet, that conclusion is a long time coming and is not easily achieved. At first, Dweck seems to strike this inter-ethnic relationship at its base, putting an end to it as the decorum of the time dictated. But then we see – and perhaps this is the power of true love exerting its force – that their love knows no bounds and in fact will seep through every crevice, every descendent, every far-flung circumstance, until it has touched the people it was meant to touch and found the closure it sought.
It is not just love that needs to find a resting place in this novel, but also the characters themselves. So many of them suffer a crisis of identity, burdened by secrets they suspect but can’t unearth. Dweck’s characters are hapless souls – none of them know who they are. And here in lies another poignant element of the tapestry the author has sewn: in their search, the characters encounter each other. And when they meet, the past becomes a little clearer, the journey easier to bear.
Traditionally Orthodox Jews and devout Muslims are sworn away from one another. But in Dweck’s historical novel the divide vanishes and we see just humanity in its place. Simply men, simply women – all embarking on coming of age tales that will bring them home and enable them, finally, to know themselves.
Dweck’s novel is dizzyingly good. You will get swept up in it, meaning to read a couple of chapters and instead reading for hours. But it will demand your full attention; you must be wholly present. Dweck is a true writer who takes precision and care with each sentence. Adjectives are both carefully chosen and freely strewn so that you will be awash in images, similes and description at every turn. As a critic, I wrestled with this aspect of it. Instinctually, I felt the prose to be overwritten – but then again, it wasn’t badly written – in fact, it was magnificently done. So, what should I make of it, then? Maybe this: that Dweck has a whole palette of words at her disposal and she’s chosen to use them all, because she can.
Reading this, you will savor the language and the countless surprising ways the author has chosen to use it. Or maybe you’ll just forget about language entirely and simply race through the book to see what happens. I found myself so torn – one moment wanting to stop and marvel at a turn of phrase and the next wanting to skim a passage of description so as to get to the next juicy part. Dweck will play with you like this, in the most delicious of ways – with pacing first slow and then fast – ultimately crescendoing to a satisfying end.
*This novel can be purchased on Amazon.com* Enjoy!
ReadLately.com Reviews The Debt of Tamar
The Debt of Tamar is an Amazon best seller in the category of "Jewish Literature" !
As of today, The Debt of Tamar is an Amazon Best Seller coming in on the "Hot 100" Best Jewish Literature list.
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The Jewish Federation of Monmouth County selects The Debt of Tamar as a "Great Summer Read" and will be hosting a lively discussion and light dinner on the evening of October 16th at Stinger's in Long Branch, NJ.
Click on the link below and register today!
As of today, The Debt of Tamar is a #1 Amazon Best Seller in Middle East Fiction, #1 in Jewish Literature, and one of the Hot 100 best selling Historical Fiction Kindle books on Amazon.
Pick up a copy today!
After a successful promotional ebook sale, and many thousands of book sales later, The Debt of Tamar has hit some pretty surprising targets!
#17 Bestseller in the Kindle Store
#6 Bestseller in the Nook Store
#37 Bestseller in the IBook Store
In addition, it is also
#1 Kindle Bestseller Middle East Fiction
#1 Kindle Bestseller Jewish Literature
#1 Kindle Bestseller Jewish American Literature
Pick up a copy today!