The Book of Abraham

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

This novel begins with the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70.

After Abraham, a scribe, is forced to flee with his family, he begins a scroll on which he enters the names of his family in order that no one will forget or be forgotten. He enjoins his sons to carry on this tradition and to read the names aloud to future generations.

The scroll becomes both a family tree and a chronicle of history, as succeeding generations migrate from North Africa to Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, Germany, and Poland. From the fifteenth century onward, the book is based on the documented history of the author’s own family of printers. The story ends with his grandfather’s death in the Warsaw Ghetto.

As in a James Michener saga, ordinary people are seen against the backdrop of history. In their everyday lives, the reader sees not only the persecution suffered by the Jews but also the peaceful relations which they have had at times, with Christians and Muslims.

The scroll, and later the book, of Abraham is, however, more than the story of a single family. As the path of the family’s migrations follows the Diaspora, this family record comes to symbolize the collective memory, tradition, and continuity of the Jewish people. A common heritage is preserved and triumphs over time and distance. Even in the worst times, there is hope and a belief in the future.

A best-seller in Europe, THE BOOK OF ABRAHAM is a rewarding and interesting historical novel with an added dimension; Jews and Christians alike can discover more about themselves and their heritage in its pages.