The Angel of Losses by Stephanie Feldman
Publisher: Ecco (July 29, 2014)
The Tiger’s Wife meets A History of Love in this inventive, lushly imagined debut novel that explores the intersections of family secrets, Jewish myths, the legacy of war and history, and the bonds between sisters
When Eli Burke dies, he leaves behind a mysterious notebook full of stories about a magical figure named The White Rebbe, a miracle worker in league with the enigmatic Angel of Losses, protector of things gone astray, and guardian of the lost letter of the alphabet, which completes the secret name of God.
When his granddaughter, Marjorie, discovers Eli’s notebook, everything she thought she knew about her grandfather–and her family–comes undone. To find the truth about Eli’s origins and unlock the secrets he kept, she embarks on an odyssey that takes her deep into the past, from 18th century Europe to Nazi-occupied Lithuania, and back to the present, to New York City and her estranged sister Holly, whom she must save from the consequences of Eli’s past.
Interweaving history, theology, and both real and imagined Jewish folktales, The Angel of Losses is a family story of what lasts, and of what we can-and cannot-escape.
This book is a mix of history, Jewish folklore and theology. Eli Burke’s granddaughter Marjorie finds his notebook and in it she discovers a man nothing like the grandfather she has known all her life. She decides to search the past to find out the truth about him.
I loved the reading about Jewish folklore, but parts of the book were hard to keep straight in my mind. The twist between Marjorie and her sister was interesting, and kept me eagerly turning the pages to see how that turned out.
All in all this was an interesting book, but I felt it had too much going on at times.
This is Feldman’s first book and I’d be interested in reading more from her.