Reading "The Debt of Tamar", is a little like getting swallowed up by the plant in "Little shop of Horrors"? Just try to put this book down. Once you start it YOU 'really' can't! It's gut wrenching engrossing: An epic historical fiction-multilayered-passionate-intimate I never knew where this story was going next.
First I sad - and angry that I had to confront my own personal pain about the history of so many Jews that had to hide their reli Reading "The Debt of Tamar", is a little like getting swallowed up by the plant in "Little shop of Horrors"? First I sad - and angry that I had to confront my own personal pain about the history of so many Jews that had to hide their religion. I 'am' Jewish. It kinda makes me sick to have to continues to remember how mistreated Jewish people were Can you image being 17 years old..
Raised as a Catholic, attending church every week, only to find out that you were Jewish? You think that might mess with your head, just a little? It would me. When 2 young teens - cousins- get news of 'the truth' At one point I was thinking, I wouldn't have blame them, if they wished to never have found out the truth. Its clear that in order to survive Jews run! The teens survive. The cousins escape Portugal, make it to Turkey. Are you wondering what I am? Do these 'cousins' fall in love? YES, they do! I Had to wait and find out-- I was often 'dying' to know what was coming next So you can wait too.
She will be steps ahead of you too. Don't even try to guess where the story is going- won't work anyway. So, enjoy the ride! I haven't even come 'close' to sharing how much more is packed into this novel. Anyone who has loved Ken Follett's historical fiction books Pillars of the Earth-- World Without End, etc. Or Khaled Hosseini books If you love his storytelling, you'll love Nocole Dweck. Nicole Dweck is my new Hero: she told a fabulous story, absolutely beautifully written, and pages. Perfect length for a novel Love this book You will too! For you mom's aunts, good friends.
Thank you to St. Martin's Press, Netgalley, and my new 'hero' View all 34 comments. Aug 26, Angela M rated it really liked it Shelves: netgalley-reviews. Two boys , born centuries and places far apart share a common legacy , raised as Catholics as their Jewish families send them away to save them from the persecution of the Inquisition and later from Nazis in France.
A Sultan's son and a young Jewish girl fall in love. A woman risks her life to save her people. This is a beautiful story crossing countries , continents and cultures and moving across centuries. It's horrific at times when the persecution of Jews at various times in history , the Two boys , born centuries and places far apart share a common legacy , raised as Catholics as their Jewish families send them away to save them from the persecution of the Inquisition and later from Nazis in France.
It's horrific at times when the persecution of Jews at various times in history , the Inquisition, the Nazi invasion in France are depicted in the lives of these characters and heartbreaking when characters who love each other are separated. But it is also uplifting when they find out who they are and carry the legacy and faith that their parents died for , with them from that point forward.
I was taken by the story right from the beginning. I was aware that this was a story linking the past and the present and I've come to really enjoy these as long as the connections work and such was the case here. Spanning from the mid 16th century to , the past and present are linked by love stories which are the heart of the novel. Considering that this is not a lengthy book, it's pretty amazing how much time and how many places and how many characters are covered here and that these lives are woven together.
It's almost impossible to try to condense the story here and I won't even try. I can say , though that in this short novel you will be transported across these places and times and the transition and connection work beautifully. Thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley. View all 5 comments. I'm not even going to pretend to be nice. Don't bother to read this editorial rant if you do not appreciate any other opinion but the don't worry-be-happy mantra. I'm actually a very nice person, even if I try not to be. But sometimes Bite me, chew me, spit me out.
Ignore me, and try the book. Read other reviews and save yourself from my blabber, my pen puke, my verbal diarrhea. This book, with its puffed up inside cover blurb should never, ever be mentioned in I'm not even going to pretend to be nice. These mentioned authors above have one thing in common: transforming reality into poetry of words, elevating it to a plane of harmony of history and the permanence of excellent writing.
They are all masters of historical fiction or non-fictional historical narratives. Their style of writing is still associated with authentic writing about the Holocaust, for one, but also other historical events in places such as Istanbul, Paris, Middle-East, Israel, Europe, et al. That style renounces beauty and cleverness in the name of more sustaining values like humility and truth.
Another common aspect of their writing is that the events were not just literary subjects, but actually the central truth of their lives. There is a stylistic virtuosity to their work. The detail in their narratives came from memory and not from fast-grabbed details out of encyclopedias. They will never be accused of using Auschwitz as a tool for shock value, or for gross sentimentality, or for false gravitas.
This can be a result of bad faith, or deliberate exploitation of the subject or both. Their intention was never to write redeeming human- interest stories. I named just a few, but as mentioned before there are thousands of writers who could have told this saga better. It is the authenticity or the lack there of, in this page-novel that got the pressure going on my fuse.
Color played a major role in this text to express emotions and setting. Hues of blues, purple and pink. It was good, but not enough. The narrative was too fast-paced and often superficial to conclude a long history in pages. I did not want to read a pop-fiction version of history. You don't have to keep me mentally stable, or prevent my gentle soul to be polluted. Or change the horrors of the Holocaust into a kind of moral tourism, a mental excursion, to save me from bad karma.
I can take it. All of it. In one go.
That's why I can and want to read real historical fiction. And it is the reason why I thought this book might be a perfect read. Obviously it was not. Not exactly. Don't bombard me with modern expressions such as: "her cover's been blown" mmmm In !? Only essentials. Whatever you may need for a short journey. You must read the book to understand the meaning, or non-meaning of G-d. This narrative style prevented me from getting into this book almost until the very end, to be honest.
The saga centers around the Jewish religion. It's history. The ambitious plot builds the outcome of the Jewish people in pages. As you can imagine, it resulted in an informative summary of a very old story. The book started out with him regarding himself as the happiest orphan alive. Then he spends his time finding the reason for people to die for this religion. Soon he was delving into metaphysics and once again, astronomy, through the mystical teachings of the Zohar. Never before had his mind operated on so many different planes simultaneously. It was as if Kabbalah was a language stored in his memory before birth and the process of learning was merely an exercise in recollection.
Be patient. This is important. Functioning as Christians for many years, but being Jewish in disguise, did not have them break out in hives, grew them Vampirian molars, or had them hunch-backed and buckle-legged as a result. They actually survived nicely, until the ruling regime got interested in the widow's wealth, during the Edict of Expulsion, and they all had to flee for their lives, with the support of the Jewish Underground Movement.
They ended up at the mercy of the Ottoman Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent his name derived from the wise Solomon in the Bible who believed in religious tolerance. Istanbul in Turkey was their destiny. And so they lived happily ever after, until Tamar, the offspring of Jose and Reyna, fell in love with Murat, the Sultan's grandson, and suddenly the religious intolerance came into play. Not from the Sultan's side, but from the Jewish Jose Nissam. The religion who left him orphaned and living as a a Christian for 17 years.
The religion now prevented him from accepting his daughter's choices. A fate probably worse than death. Jose had no trouble to be Christian until he was told his true heritage. He had no trouble with being the guest of the Muslim Sultan either.
But the possibility of an inter-faith marriage had him at the brink of well Then Tamar disappear, and oh dear, Murat the young Sultan is heartbroken. Hence the curse that will follow this family to the ends of Was there a fulfillment of the prophecy? Honest to G-d, it remained a mystery to me.
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The story line and plot follow the basic template of modern romances. People fall in love, passion blooms, then something happens and the dramatic ending looms. In this case, another century or two invades the narrative to add historical fictional elements to the final conclusion. The saga spans over several centuries, different geographical zones, through a cultural miasma, dropping in at the Holocaust, Paris, Israel, Tiberia, a cottage overlooking the sea of Galilee, and at last a modern day New York. It is a love story with a mystery. All done in lightning-fast pages of plot.
Historical informative, yes. The show-don't-tell principle flew out the window as a result. The Jewish history summarized as I said. A shock-value-added grab at the inhumane atrocities of the Jewish fate and the Holocaust, with a lighter hue of rose than the normal, yet still digestible if you don't indulge in true historical fiction and reality too much. A gentle rendition of history. For instance, Bulgarians, who started the first successful uprising against the year Ottoman regime, might write a totally different version of the Ottoman history.
If it made people so happy, why overthrow it? The story would have been a much more realistic version of events, truer to the historical fiction spirit of Jewish authors. This book is a serious rendition of the rescue effort of Turkish Jews from Paris, and the conflict of an inter-faith marriage between A Jewish young man and a Muslim young woman. It's quite an antidote to The Debt of Tamar in style, narrative and authenticity.
So yes, Tamar's story is light, it's love, it's supposedly historical fiction in the don't-worry-be-happy and emotional-baiting styles. A different kind of historical fiction. Some people cried, experienced it as an emotional roller coaster. Good for them. I told you to read this book and decide for yourself.
It is also a tragedy. A really sad story. If you're still here, thank you. So we're still friends, right? My sad conclusion is that religion can really destroy or enrich people's lives. It does not change people physically, it changes their destiny. It will destroy mankind if we refuse to adapt and respect one another.
I actually enjoyed the last part of the book. Punched right out of the romance zone, although the book is about love, destiny, loyalty and so on. Very well articulated and eloquently focused on excellent word smithery. So, a three star rating says it was okay. One was for the Jewish history. The book has merit and will be a blast for the right reader. It calls out for a very different audience. Great author. Thanks for reading. Sorry about my rant. I adore Starbucks coffee, it elevates me to the clouds, but when I can enjoy it straight from the tree, I'm dancing on the moon! View all 19 comments.
Apr 24, Erin rated it really liked it. Some of the best books I've ever read seem to happen in two particular locations Abandon the rational that will scoff "Oh, this is so unrealistic! View all 4 comments. My name is Erin Davies and I am a cover slut. I see an attractive jacket and any and all impulse control goes straight out the window.
Half the time I throw caution to the wind and don't even read the description Now I know I should be ashamed at the shallowness of my selection process, but the truth is I'm not. It isn't a finite rule or anything, but quality jackets generally grace quality content. More importantly though, this tendency leads me to sample a lot of titles I would've otherwise passed without a second thought. Titles that turned out to be well-worth my time. A nontraditional and abstract romance, Dweck's is a beautifully poignant tale of love, loss, and redemption that touches multiple generations over more than five hundred years.
Boasting a wide array of characters, I greatly appreciated the contrast Dweck created among the various protagonists and found much to admire in the philosophical complexities of their collective story. Unfortunately for me, I found one of the novel's greatest strengths was also a significant frustration. I very much liked Dona Antonia Nissim and would have loved to spend hours in her company, but the shifting focus of the narrative quashed that desire almost as soon as it was born.
There is an ethereal beauty in the interconnected tapestry of their lives, but I'm a selfish reader and felt somewhat cheated by the brevity of time I was allowed to spend with each of Dweck's brilliantly imagined cast. I understand the nature of this story is not conducive to such treatment, but I genuinely feel their personal journeys have potential beyond that depicted within these pages. My petty grievances aside, I found The Debt of Tamar a beautiful story that transcends traditional boundaries with timeless themes and evocative prose. A truly captivating debut that holds much promise for its author.
What a beautiful book. The Debt of Tamar is more than a mere book, it is an experience. I loved every page. I would most definitely recommend to anyone who wants an escape A veritable feast for the 5 senses. Jan 30, Amy rated it liked it Shelves: historical-fiction , jewish , turkey. I enjoyed it. It took me off course in the middle. Wasn't formulaic in the least. But after I got adjusted to the curveball, I really liked seeing it unfold. And of course loved the beginning - and the end In the late 16th century, a band of Portuguese Jews sought refuge in Turkey under the protection of Suleiman the Magnificent, the most celebrated Sultan in the Ottoman Empire.
Faced with the truth of their Jewish heritage for the first time in their lives, Reyna and Jose connect with each other and find love and comfort in Turkey. Years later, their daughter Tamar falls in love with th In the late 16th century, a band of Portuguese Jews sought refuge in Turkey under the protection of Suleiman the Magnificent, the most celebrated Sultan in the Ottoman Empire. They remain committed to their shared determination until the tensions escalade between their families and Tamar vanishes. Fast-forward to present-day Turkey and Selim Osman, a wildly successful real estate magnate and the grandson of the last Osman Sultan.
In the prime of his life, Selim has the world at his feet until fate deals him a cruel blow: a shocking and life-altering diagnosis. Abandoning his life in Turkey, Selim turns to a Manhattan hospital in the hope of a cure; here he meets Hannah, a spirited young painter whose father is fighting a medical battle of his own. A lush novel spanning generations and eras, The Debt of Tamar is ambitious and beautiful crafted by debut author Nicole Dweck.
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Its story is a fascinating one, spun with originality by the author in a fearless departure from the typical structure of a novel. What could be expected to be a frustratingly complex tale becomes a genuinely accessible novel, one that balances names, dates, and histories all with a surprising and pleasing lightness. Dweck knows exactly how long to focus on a generation of characters before moving us on to the next, understanding very well how her reader will process all this information, all these emotions and experiences. I was mesmerized by the way Dweck approached Happily Ever After as something woven in the invisible power of fate, something that transcends human emotion and even the human lifespan.
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