Falmouth Jewish Congregation invites you to a Jewish Book Council author talk and book signing on Tuesday, October 17 at 7pm : Rachel Kadish – The Weight of Ink: A Novel
Light refreshments will be served, and the program will run approximately one hour and a quarter.
Free and open to the public
Falmouth Jewish Congregation welcomes the public to an author talk by Rachel Kadish, who will discuss her latest novel, The Weight of Ink. This event, like two others this fall, are part of Falmouth Jewish Congregation’s participation in the Jewish Book Council’s Author Network, which brings authors to communities for talks and book sales/signings. Eight Cousins Book Store will have copies of The Weight of Ink available for sale at the cost of $28 (credit cards and checks accepted). Light refreshments will be served and all are welcome.
Rachel Kadish’s The Weight of Ink has been described as an intellectual and emotional jigsaw puzzle of a novel for readers of A. S. Byatt’s Possession and Geraldine Brooks’s People of the Book. Set in London of both the 1660s and the early twenty-first century, the novel relates the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect: Ester Velasquez, an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city; and Helen Watt, an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history. As the novel opens, Helen has been summoned by a former student to view a cache of seventeenth-century Jewish documents newly discovered in his home during a renovation. Enlisting the help of Aaron Levy, an American graduate student as impatient as he is charming, and in a race with another fast-moving team of historians, Helen embarks on one last project: to determine the identity of the documents’ scribe, the elusive “Aleph.”
Weighty explorations of what it is to be Jewish and to enter interfaith relationships in multiple time periods are integral to each of these stories. Is there merit to keeping within the tribe? Are there, regardless of time, place, or commitment, bridges that those who would willingly enter the Jewish community from the outside can never truly cross? Crucially, what does it mean to choose survival over martyrdom? These questions play out in the characters’ personal lives concurrently with Ester’s philosophical forays into the nature of God. No stone is left unturned in either study. Electrifying and ambitious, sweeping in scope and intimate in tone, The Weight of Ink is a sophisticated work of historical fiction about women separated by centuries, and the choices and sacrifices they must make in order to reconcile the life of the heart and mind.
Rachel Kadish is the award-winning author of the novels From a Sealed Room and Tolstoy Lied: a Love Story, as well as the novella I Was Here. Her work has appeared on NPR and in the New York Times, Ploughshares, and Tin House, and has been anthologized in the Pushcart Prize Anthology and elsewhere. She has been a fiction fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, has received the John Gardner Fiction Award and the Koret Foundation’s Young Writer on Jewish Themes Award, and was a writer-in-residence at Stanford University. Ms. Kadish teaches in Lesley University’s MFA Program in Creative Writing.
The Jewish Book Council, which promotes Jewish books through a variety of online resources and programs (awards, author talks, publications), has an excellent website with discussion guides, book reviews, and more, at www.jewishbookcouncil.org.
This event will take place at Falmouth Jewish Congregation’s Blanche and Joel D. Seifer Community Center at 7 Hatchville Road in East Falmouth. Reservations are not required. Falmouth Jewish Congregation Community is an inclusive, egalitarian Reform congregation serving the Upper Cape and beyond, is accessible and welcoming to all. For further information please visit the website at www.falmouthjewish.org, visit our Facebook page, or call 508-540-0602.
Additional Jewish Book Council author talks will take place this October and November as follows:
Thursday, November 16 at 7pm: Jeremy Dauber: Jewish Comedy: A Serious History