you were an ordinary, modern, ambitious guy working to get ahead at
your New York City law firm. Now suppose that you had a vision from God,
right in the middle of a Scotch-filled office event. That's what
happened to thirty-two-year-old Jonah Jacobstein. What will he do if he
suddenly develops a conscience?
Jonah knew the 59th Street subway station well enough that he did not have to look up from his iPhone as he made his way among its corridors and commuters to the track. He felt lucky as he came down the stairs to the platform to see a train just pulling in—he boarded without breaking his stride, took a seat by the door of the nearly empty car, went on typing. A crowd of people flooded in at the next station, but Jonah felt he'd had a long enough day that he need not give up seat. But then an older woman—frumpy, blue-haired, with a grandmotherly sweet face and a tiny bell of a nose—ended up standing directly before him, and Jonah decided to do the right thing and he stood.—The Book of Jonah by Joshua Max Feldman (Macmillan / Henry Holt & Co., 2014, p. 1)
- Setting: current times, New York City, Amsterdam, Las Vegas
- Circumstances: Jonah, a not particularly religious young man, must decide if he is having visions from God or whether he's going mad. If the former, then what is expected of him?
- Genre: contemporary fiction; biblical retelling; roots in midrash
- Characters: Jonah, city lawyer on the rise; Judith, Boston art expert, feeling lost; their loves, family, and colleagues
- Themes: how would you know if you were called by God; good vs. evil; one man against a city; lessons from the biblical Jonah as they apply to the modern world; can we save others from themselves
- What I know so far: interesting premise; not religious in a traditional sense; writing is detailed; am reserving judgment at the moment because I've really just started it
- Extras: Joshua Feldman wrote a piece for the Jewish Book Council explaining why he based his novel on the Book of Jonah; the Macmillan site includes an interview with Feldman and a short audio in which the author discusses his background and goals for the novel
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).