Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Angel of Losses by Stephanie Feldman

Good morning, everyone! Today I'm part of the TLC book tour for Stephanie Feldman's The Angel of Losses.

Marjorie was always fascinated by her grandfather's stories of the White Rebbe. In the wake of his death, that fascination became something of an obsession. The White Rebbe, the Wandering Jew, the various incarnations of this legend have become the focus of Marjorie's doctoral research. When she discovers one of her grandfather's notebooks and another tale of the White Rebbe, she believes it will further add to her studies. In reality it will lead her down a path that reveals secrets long hidden and discoveries about her family's past.

This is a hard one to tidy up into a neat summary. It's a family story - Marjorie and her relationship with her sister, both of whom were quite close until Holly married into an ultra Orthodox family. And it's about Eli, Marjorie's grandfather, a conundrum of a man who shared stories steeped in Jewish lore while turning up his nose at the religion. That and Eli's seeming decline before his death have always confused Marjorie and so it's understandable that she would latch onto the opportunity to delve further into his story via the tales he shared.

It's also a story about religion and folklore. Much of Marjorie's studies lead to connections between various folklores, all seemingly stemming from the same legend. It's perhaps this aspect of the story that I found most fascinating considering I've got a little of an obsession myself with folklore and the way various cultures' tales parallel one another. This is what initially drew me to the book, in fact.

It is an odd tale, I'll give you that. The story is interrupted by various stories Marjorie comes across in her research. On the one hand it brings the main narrative to a screeching halt while the reader settles into yet another story. On the other hand I found the tales to be both intriguing and gripping so for me it wasn't so jarring, instead it was a bit of a pause in Marjorie's tale.

In terms of subject and style this won't be a book that fits every reader's tastes - but what book ever does? It's likely too the kind of book that needs to be approached in a frame of mind. The slower pacing, the detail, and the tone of the book suited my own current reading mood and satisfied my own bookish cravings of the moment. Had I been in the mood for something that lent itself to a quicker read, for example, I might not have enjoyed Angel of Losses as much as I did.

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I'm glad that you were in the right frame of mind to truly appreciate this unique book. Thanks for being a part of the tour.