ISBN #: 978-0805097764
Page Count: 352
Copyright: February 4, 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
(Taken from back cover)
The modern-day Jonah at the center of Joshua Max Feldman’s brilliantly conceived retelling of the book of Jonah is a young Manhattan lawyer named Jonah Jacobstein. He’s a lucky man: healthy and handsome, with two beautiful women ready to spend the rest of their lives with him and an enormously successful career that gets more promising by the minute. He’s celebrating a deal that will surely make him partner when a bizarre, unexpected biblical vision at a party changes everything. Hard as he tries to forget what he saw, this disturbing sign is only the first of many Jonah will witness, and before long his life is unrecognizable. Though this perhaps divine intervention will be responsible for more than one irreversible loss in Jonah’s life, it will also cross his path with that of Judith Bulbrook, an intense, breathtakingly intelligent woman who’s no stranger to loss herself. As this funny and bold novel moves to Amsterdam and then Las Vegas, Feldman examines the way we live now while asking an age-old question: How do you know if you’re chosen?
Jonah Jacobstein is a successful lawyer, living the good life in New York. After running into an Hasidic Jew who speaks to him about the biblical Jonah, he starts to have visions. As he tumbles farther and farther into his visions, Jonah loses everything in a search for something far outside himself.
In all honesty, I struggled with this novel. It seemed a little slow, and I had a hard time connecting with Jonah at first. The premise was good, and it was as much humorous as it was lacking in momentum. When the storyline drawing the two main characters finally came into play, everything picked up and felt "right". I felt as if I held my breath until these two strangers finally got together. I wish we had seen more of their development earlier in the book.
Having said all that, my "aha" moment for the book was buried deep into page 321, where Mr. Feldman summed up the entire book in a prophetic way: "In the end, it wasn’t God or the visions or the Hasid you couldn’t escape. It was yourself." And that, in a nutshell, is the story of Jonah.
*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.