“It was a painting of a street. The street was covered with snow, and lined by a short fence and little crooked buildings whose rooftops bent and reflected in all directions. Above the street, a man with a beard, pack, hat and cane hovered in the sky, moving over the houses as if walking – unaware, in murky horizontal profile, that he was actually in flight.”
The above described painting is a real-life priceless work of art by Marc Chagall. In June of 2001, it was stolen from a Jewish museum and recovered months later in a Kansas post office.
Author Dara Horn takes this real-life tale and creates a work of fiction that is as stunning as a Chagall painting. She weaves layers of stories, some real, some Jewish folklore and a splash of the mystical to create a masterpiece that left me hanging on every word. I’ll be the first to admit I’m no fan of magical realism. The problem is that it does not usually blend well with the story – and most of the time the story is not worth reading anyway. Horn, on the other hand, achieves a great feat. She not only creates a compelling story, she combines the unbelievable in a way that does not force the reader to believe it. You think, it’s a just a tale, but while you are pleasantly reading along, you realize that it has pulled you in and made you think more deeply about life, death, and the meaning of it all.
I can’t say enough good things about The World To Come – it’s fantastic and now, one of my favorite books.
4 1/2 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2006