The Angel of Losses

Ecco: HarperCollins. Aug. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780062228918. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062228932. F
Marjorie, a literary scholar studying the Wandering Jew archetype, has a strained relationship with her sister Holly, who has married an Orthodox Jew belonging to a mysterious sect. While sorting through her deceased grandfather's belongings, Marjorie discovers a notebook containing a tale about a white rebbe tormented and haunted by an angel; the story not only parallels her own research but may be connected to her grandfather's unspoken past. As she searches for three missing companion notebooks and draws connections with the help of a librarian with whom she becomes romantically involved, Marjorie discovers that her brother-in-law Nathan is on a similar quest.
VERDICT Feldman's debut novel is an unusual combination of literary thriller, family drama, and Jewish mysticism, but the pieces fit together somewhat uneasily, with the reader unsure how literally to take the supernatural elements. Fans of Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian or the works of Lev Grossman will find something here in a similar vein, but with a little quieter pacing and a little more spirituality.
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