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The Genizah At The House Of Shepher Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 500 pages
  • Publisher: Toby Pr; First Edition edition (March 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592640850
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592640850
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,747,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The history of the family Shepher is a "record of theft, domestic discord, mutual blame-laying and bad luck." Despite that--or perhaps because of it--this British author's debut novel is warm and engrossing, rich with historical detail and unmet yearning. The discovery of a mysterious, handwritten volume of the Bible, apparently the property of biblical scholar Shulamit Shepher's great-grandfather, brings Shulamit from her home in England back to her family's small bungalow in Jerusalem. There, in an attempt to unravel the book's origins, she recounts her family's troubled history, beginning with her great-grandfather Shalom, who disappeared for two years and returned addlebrained and clutching this strange book, known thereafter only as the Codex. Shulamit has inherited her great-grandfather's scholarly interests, but not his traditional Jewish practice. Still, she welcomes the attentions of a religious zealot named Gideon Ben Gibreel--who seeks the Codex for reasons he won't reveal--even as she tries to decide whether the book is the key to reviving her academic career. More than anything, this wide-ranging novel is a meditation on the power of the Holy City, able to restore or shake the faith of whoever enters. As Shulamit notes, "Of all the cities of the world Jerusalem has one of the shabbiest gates of arrival, and coming or going one is greeted by graves." (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Yellin's first novel is impossible to put down. Both genealogical history and treasure hunt, it is one of those books that winds the reader in gauzy layers of ancient and recent history, woven into confusing patterns but somehow not losing sight of each other. The protagonist, an independent and single biblical scholar named Shula,is deeply connected to her family's history but not especially interested in either her own present or future. Tracing her genealogy through four generations to her great-grandfather Shepher, she learns of his purported journey to unknown lands to seek the lost tribes of Israel. More than 100 years later, a codex--a very early copy of the five books of Moses--is found in the Shepher family home outside Jerusalem shortly before the building is slated for demolition. Shula returns to the house, site of family vacations throughout her childhood, to find the remaining family in tumult, unsure of what to do with this archaeological treasure. When a strange man arrives to beg Shula to give him the codex, she is tornbetween her disconnection from her living family and her desire to honor its ancient past, however improbable it might sound. Although Shula's personal life and inner struggles do not truly resolve themselves, the story of the codex and the Shepher family history are more than enough to pull this novel through with beauty, deep love, and a timelessness thatwill likely make it a classic. Debi Lewis
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Very unusual - it is a page-turner, and the plot is secondary to the way the story is told.
Richard Redmond
I started reading this book because a friend of mine forced me to sit and listen as she read the first five chapters aloud.
Andrew Mcaleavey
I travelled through time and found a long lost treasure and a long lost love along with the main character, Shulamit.
redheaded reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on August 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The Genizah At The House Of Shepherd is a sweeping novel that follows the return of an English biblical scholar to her grandparents' home in Jerusalem. Immersed in a simmering family feud concerning the so-called "Shepher Codex", she discovers the history of her family, from the great-grandfather who traveled to Babylon in search of the ten lost tribes, to her grandfather's Zionist ideals that caused conflict with his religion, to the tragic love affair of her parents and her own sad past. As much a parable of the transformations in Jerusalem over a hundred and thirty years as it is the story of one woman's struggle for identity and search for answers, The Genizah At The House Of Shepherd is a deeply enthralling narrative of epic spiritual proportions.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Mcaleavey on April 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Don't read the plot summary that's included on this site. Those few paragraphs convey nothing about the actual experience of reading this book -- and an experience it is. Tamar Yellin wields language with virtuoso skill to construct a world that I didn't want to leave.

I started reading this book because a friend of mine forced me to sit and listen as she read the first five chapters aloud. The reading was slow -- we were forced to repeat many sentences in sheer wonderment. ("The line of tension between choice and chance is the thread by which the miracle of existence hangs." Personal favorite.) That sort of rhetorical power is set against a Jerusalem that's described in incredible and loving detail.

If you read this, you will get something out of it.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By redheaded reader on February 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I travelled through time and found a long lost treasure and a long lost love along with the main character, Shulamit. Famiy, belonging, and the struggle for identity are universal themes that make this a book for all countries. I don't want to spoil a thing, you must pick up this book and travel to a different time. I promise this will enchant the discriminating reader.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Geoff on May 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. I read it nearly a year ago but decided to write a review because I can still, even now, see the pictures in my head that were evoked by the beautiful writing.

I was also reminded of it when I saw that it won the Rohr prize. The judges included a professor, a novelist a Harvard fellow and an editorial director so I guess they know what's what.

Reminded me a little of Isabelle Allende's style but it is stands out on its own and is well worth a read.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Shoshana on March 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Excellent book- a real page turner that succesfully allows the reader to ride the waves between the past and present of this fascinating family.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By F. Oakley on February 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a wonderful achievement, covering many generations and several continents. The author rises to the considerable challenge of keeping her locales and characters distinct and authentic. As with other "family sagas" it takes some effort on the reader's part to keep up. I look forward to more books from Tamar Yellin. Highly recommended.
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