The Book of Abraham

Written by Marek Halter
Review by Audrey Braver

The Book of Abraham begins with the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD as Abraham the Temple scribe and his family prepare to flee to Egypt. It ends in 1942 with diary entries written by a descendant, the printer Abraham, during his last days in the Warsaw Ghetto. In between is a marvelous story of one Jewish family’s migration through the ages, told in generational episodes that describe and parallel experiences of Jews throughout history. Both Sephardim and Ashkenazim are included. The chain of events that connect the various generations are told with intelligence, love, and a true empathy for the struggles and accomplishments of the Jewish community. This is a work of fiction in which the author uses his family’s name and its multi-generational occupation as printers for inspiration.

In The Book of Abraham, Marek Halter has produced a powerful masterpiece. Beautifully written, the story moves from chapter to chapter, country to country, with the grace of a symphony by Mozart. Lowell Bair deserves mention for his excellent translation. This is a new edition of a classic best-seller and deserves to be on everyone’s “must read” list.