From one of our most preeminent writers, a tale that captures the shifting meanings of the past, and how our experience colors those meanings.
Lloyd Wilkinson Petrie, one of the seven elderly trustees of the now defunct (for thirty-four years) Temple Academy for Boys, is preparing a memoir of his days at the school, intertwined with the troubling distractions of present events. As he navigates, with faltering recall, between the subtle anti-Semitism that pervaded the school's ethos and his fascination with his own family's heritage--in particular, his illustrious cousin, the renowned archaeologist Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie--he reconstructs the passions of a childhood encounter with the oddly named Ben-Zion Elefantin, a mystifying older pupil who claims descent from Egypt's Elephantine Island. From this seed emerges one of Cynthia Ozick's most wondrous tales, touched by unsettling irony and the elusive flavor of a Kafka parable, and weaving, in her own distinctive voice, myth and mania, history and illusion.
About the Author
CYNTHIA OZICK, a recipient of both the PEN/Nabokov Award and the PEN/Malamud Award for fiction and a National Book Critics Circle winner for criticism, is the author of Trust, The Messiah of Stockholm, The Shawl, and The Puttermesser Papers. She lives in New York.
“Beguiling . . . . Ozick is adept at capturing the vicissitudes of fading memory or flashes of lucid insight, and she unspools the story at a brisk pace . . . A fascinating portrait of isolation, memory, and loss.”
"A literary national treasure returns with a textured, gripping tale that peels back layers of antisemitism, with echoes of both A Separate Peace and the fiction of Isaac Bashevis Singer."
—O the Oprah Magazine