The World to Come
Baker & Taylor
Having stolen a million-dollar Marc Chagall masterpiece, thirty-year-old quiz-show writer Benjamin Ziskind and his twin sister work to evade the police and evaluate the eighty-year-old link between their family and the famous painting.
By the winner of three national awards, a daring, ambitious, and wildly readable novel.
A million-dollar painting by Marc Chagall is stolen from a museum. The unlikely thief is Benjamin Ziskind, a thirty-year-old quiz-show writer. As Benjamin and his twin sister try to evade the police, they find themselves recalling their dead parentsthe father who lost a leg in Vietnam, the mother who created children's booksand their stories about trust, loss, and betrayal.
What is true, what is fake, what does it mean? Eighty years before the theft, these questions haunted Chagall and the enigmatic Yiddish fabulist Der Nister ("The Hidden One"), teachers at a school for Jewish orphans. Both the painting and the questions will travel through time to shape the Ziskinds' futures.
With astonishing grace and simplicity, Dara Horn interweaves a real art heist, history, biography, theology, and Yiddish literature. Richly satisfying, utterly unique, her novel opens the door to "the world to come"not life after death, but the world we create through our actions right now.
Blackwell North Amer
A million-dollar painting by Marc Chagall is stolen from a museum during a singles' cocktail hour. The unlikely thief is Benjamin Ziskind, a lonely former child prodigy who writes questions for quiz shows and who is sure the painting used to hang on the wall of his parents' living room. As Ben tries to evade the police, he and his twin sister, Sara, seek out the truth of how the painting got to the museum, whether the "original" is actually a forgery, and whether Sara, an artist, can create a convincing forgery to take its place.
Eighty years prior, in the 1920s in Soviet Russia, Marc Chagall taught art to orphaned Jewish boys. There Chagall befriended the great Yiddish novelist known by the pseudonym "Der Nister," the Hidden One. And there, with the lives of these real artists, the story of the painting begins, carrying with it not only a hidden fable by the Hidden One but also the story of the Ziskind family - from Russia to New Jersey and Vietnam.
Having stolen a million-dollar Marc Chagall masterpiece, thirty-year-old quiz-show writer Benjamin Ziskind and his twin sister work to evade the police and evaluate the eighty-year-old link between their family and the famous painting. 30,000 first printing.
New York : W.W. Norton & Co., c2006
314 p. ; 25 cm