Sunday, November 19, 2006

What I'm Reading -- The World to Come by Dara Horn

The World to Come has one of the most complex plots I have read. The main character, though there are technically many, is Ben Ziskind, who steals a painting that he believes belongs to his family. The rest of the characters also are connected, in one way or another, to this Marc Chagall painting. In the present time, Horn follows Ben, his art-loving pregnant twin, her Russian refugee husband and Erica, the museum employee who needs to get the painting back because it was stolen on her watch. The relationship between the twins and the fact that Ben and Erica have the beginnings of a romantic relationship makes things complicated. The author also lets her readers into the world of Russian Jewish artists in the 20's like Chagall and author Der Nister. The painting originally gets into the Ziskind family, through Ben’s relative, who grew up in an orphanage in Russia. There is too much for me to cover here and Horn also weaves some Yiddish stories into the narrative. This is an inventive novel with several fully developed characters. Horn seamlessly bounces between countries, times, realities and characters to create a wonderful novel in The World to Come.

2 comments:

Jackie said...

Was it humorous? 'Cause it sounds like it could be a comedy.

Vin Swanson said...

Actually, it is quite serious. It is a difficult book to describe, though.