Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Marrying of Chani Kaufman by Eve Harris

A first novel, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, The Marrying of Chani Kaufman by Eve Harris is easy to read and hard to put down.

The setting of the novel is an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in a suburb of London. The subject is marriage and family relationships revolving around marriage, with a focus in on two couples. Chani Kaufman and Baruch Levy are a young, newly met and newly engaged couple, about to be married. Rabbi Chaim Zilberman and Rebbetzin Rebecca have been married for nearly 30 years, but are having difficulties in their relationship.

All four main characters are portrayed as interesting and complex individuals living and loving and seeking a balance between their ultra Orthodox world and the modern world. There is much humor in the telling, as well as discussion of serious issues of family, life styles, and faith. The inter-related stories are told from differing and alternating points of view, which adds to the feeling of "I must keep reading to find out what is going to happen"

Reviewers have compared the book to two other recent novels, The Innocents by Francesca Segal and I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits. Those who enjoy the works of Allegra Goodman or Tova Mirvis would also enjoy The Marrying of Chani Kaufman. If you want to read more about the author and her first novel, here is one review which includes an interview:

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