Friday, September 12, 2014

Review: The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses
By Stephanie Feldman
Ecco July 2014
288 pages
From the library


The Angel of Losses

Marjorie Burke is committed to finishing her thesis on the Wandering Jew. Focusing on her research also gives her a great excuse to ignore all of the things going on in her life. Her grandfather has passed away, her sister has converted to a strict sect of Judaism for her husband, and Marjorie finds herself without friends. As Marjorie goes through her grandfather's things, she finds a notebook that contains her grandfather's stories of someone called The White Rebbe. Marjorie must decide if her grandfather's tales are just stories or if they have real-life consequences for Marjorie and her family. 

I picked up this book because it was often compared to two novels I greatly enjoyed -  The Tiger's Wife and The History of Love. All three books deal with history and family secrets and feature a modern heroine who is looking for answers in stories from the past. Childhood stories and hidden family histories play crucial roles in each and readers grapple along with the characters in discerning how we are shaped by our families. 

Unfortunately, while I liked many things about this book, it just didn't come together for me. The story moves between the stories of the White Rebbe, which are provided in full for the reader and Marjorie's discoveries about her family. The connections between the two don't really come together, though. I appreciate as a reader when an author believes me to be intelligent enough to put things together, but this felt like too many answers were tenuous at best.

There are many readers who enjoyed this beautifully written book. If you love mysticism, fairy tales, and family secrets, this is probably a perfect story for you. But I found myself feeling muddled for most of it, hoping a moment of clarity would finally arrive. 

11 comments:

  1. I love the cover - it's really intriguing and beautiful. Looks like the sort of thing I would pick up off the shelf. But if it isn't worth my time, I don't want to read it. I think I'll have to think about this one a little more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some people loved it, so maybe it's a book you pick up in the library and try for a few chapters? It just felt for me like the connections never really paid off.

      Delete
  2. I recently read another review stating pretty much the same thought as you about the plot confusion. Sorry it wasn't better for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess it's good to know I'm not alone??

      Delete
  3. I've read a few other reviews of a similar bent, so I do think your reaction was unusual. I think this is one I'll pass on!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm always bummed to turn people away from a book, but there are other books in this vein that I would recommend instead.

      Delete
  4. I tried reading this one but it just wasn't for me. I *wanted* to like it because the premise sounded cool and who doesn't love some good Jewish mysticism, but it sadly just didn't work for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It seems like a lot of people found that this book didn't work for them. What a bummer!

      Delete
  5. I really love fairy tales and novels that feature family dynamics, so I might end up trying this one. I'll keep it on my wish list and we'll see! Thanks for the balanced review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will be interested to see what you think!!

      Delete
  6. I really like all of the elements you mention this story having, but I don't think I've read any other reviews. I'll have to check a few out and see if I think this one is likely to be something I enjoy, but so far, I've only read your review, I'm not sure I wouldn't end up feeling the same way you did.

    ReplyDelete