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A Favorite Son Paperback – March 31, 2013
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
- "She opens the old story to be instead a lively psychological study of family and of greed and longing for paternal love and more. It works spectacularly well." - Grady Harp, Hall of Fame Reviewer
- "The author, by a masterful use of shifting tenses, creates an illusion that the story has happened both long time ago and in the present at the same time; which gives this story a new definition of "Timeless." - Oleg Medvedkov, Top 500 reviewer
- "Author Uvi Poznansky adds a sense of immediacy to the tale as Yankle looks back on his past with a curious mix of modern and ancient perspectives." - Sheila Deeth, Top Amazon Reviewer, Vine Voice
- "A Favorite Son sets brother against brother in an age-old quest for power. With each of them vying for their parents' love and respect, the winner comes to discover his victory is hollow... that sometimes it is better to lose the battle and thereby perhaps win the war. A well-written story that will hold your attention to the end. Highly recommended!" - Dan Glover, Author
- "With masterful storytelling and rich, poetic prose that feeds all of the senses, she has breathed life into an old tale, giving it layers and depth which gives the reader a thought to pause and think." - Michelle Bellon, Author
- "There is so much I enjoyed about this book, that I do not quite know where to begin. I read somewhere that Uvi Poznansky "paints with her words" and that she has a background in architecture. FAVORITE SON shows these with a strong building technique in her story and the colorful play with her words." - Maria Catalina Egan, Author
From the Author
The perils of biblical inspiration
Would you believe that writing biblically inspired books is a risky proposition? Let me suggest to you that it is. Why?
Because some of your readers may have only a vague recollection of the reference material, back from their days in Sunday school. Others may be totally unfamiliar with it, because they may come from a different culture altogether. So you have to introduce enough of the original story to the readers, and you better do it in a fresh way, one that highlights the immediacy of its meaning. Here, for example, is the voice of Yankle (based on the biblical Jacob) in my book A Favorite Son:
"When I sprinkle my secret blend of spices; here, take a sniff, can you smell it? When I chop these mouthwatering sun-dried tomatoes, add a few cloves of garlic for good measure, and let it all sizzle with lentils and meat--it becomes so scrumptious, so lipsmacking, finger-licking, melt-in-your-mouth good!
There is a certain ratio of flavors, a balance that creates a feast for the tongue and a delight for the mind; and having mastered that balance, with a pinch of imported cumin from the north of Persia, a dash of Saffron from the south of Egypt, I can tell you one thing: When the pot comes to a full bubbling point, and the aroma of the stew rises up in the air--it would make you dribble! Drive you to madness! For a single bite, you would sell your brother, if only you had one!"
By design, his voice is a direct and intimate one, letting you get close enough to taste, or at least to smell the aroma of his lentil soup. Not only that, but the 'you' in this passage is not just the preverbial you. Rather (as is revealed later) it is a character with a complex emotional relationship to the main character: his firstborn, who at the conclusion of the story is just about to fool Yankle in a most devastating way, by letting him believe that Joseph, his favorite son, has been devoured by a wild beast.
No wonder Yankle has a dark side. Here he is, pondering the bitterness of sibling rivalry, and the abuse of an elderly father by his son, which perpetuate themselves here from one generation to the next:
"It is an odd feeling. Have you ever faced it? Being dead to someone you envy; someone you miss, too; someone who knows you intimately and, even worse, has the chutzpa to occupy your thoughts day in, day out. It grinds down on your nerves; doesn't it? Trust me, being dead to your brother is not all that it is cracked up to be, but it does set you free--oh, don't act so surprised! It frees you from any lingering sense of obligation. Brother, you say to yourself. What does it mean, Brother? Nothing more than a pang, a dull pang in your heart.
You have betrayed him. Accept his hate. You need not talk to him ever again. For the rest of your life, you are free! A stranger-- that is what you are. A stranger, visited from time to time by dreams: Dreams about the mother you will never see again, and the father you left behind, on his deathbed. Dreams of waiting, waiting so eagerly for the next day, to meet your brother at the end of an endless exile. Dreams of grappling with him all night long, until the crack of dawn. Until your ankles give way. Until you lose your footing on the ground.
Then, rising up to take you is the darkness of the earth; which is where you wake up at sunrise to find yourself alone."
Some of your readers may be well versed with the reference material, and for them, you better offer an extra layer of meaning. For example, in the passage above, the sentence "Dreams of grappling with him all night long, until the crack of dawn. Until your ankles give way" is an allusion to Jacob grappling with the angel, the night before he meets his brother after years of estrangement. In the biblical story, this is symbolic of Jacob struggling with God. But in my modern interpretation, this is symbolic of Yankle struggling with his curse, the loneliness in which is he is stranded, now that his brother is his enemy.
A Favorite Son does not amplify what the bible says. In fact, it offers a secular point of view, and a mirror to our souls. To me, the bible is rife with drama, sex, and violence, which makes it a rich source, a place to explore the truth about ourselves, about our struggle between the angels and demons inside all of us. My Yankle is no hero, no one you might want to revere. Instead, he is a rebellious teenager, a sly smart-ass about to cheat his father. Which may well offend some readers, especially those who make the mistake to expect nothing more that an expansion of the original story. To such readers, my book may be seen as nothing less than blasphemy.
So? What do you think? Is writing biblically inspired books is a risky proposition?
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Top customer reviews
A brothers betrayel. A mothers mental dissociative disorder and above all greed.
Lentil soup never tempted me though the kosher -- oops not yet a firm concept -- stew sounds far more appealing.
When a woman faints the first time she sees her husband you know something will go wrong.
Written with a very dry sense of humor using facts of a medley of the Christian and Jewish faith to confuse and lay upon the table the discrepancies of blind faith.
A unique story of human frailty and insecurities which is expressed in greed and deception. A true treasure.
Like the Biblical tale from which it is drawn, "A Favorite Son" has much to teach us. So you think you know this story, have already gleaned from it all it has to offer? Think again. Uvi Poznansky's Biblical tales are always surprising, always lyrical, yet always modern and fresh.
Morality tales updated for the 21st century? Why bother? Because we need those lessons, those insights, more than ever. But don't read A Favorite Son for the meditation upon truths of human nature -- which it does offer, and rich ones at that.
Read it for what Uvi brings to her tales of bible times: a unique and special flavor, hers alone. Zola is credited with saying, "Art is life seen through a temperament." Whether or not Zola was the first to say this, the definition of art is the best we have. And by that definition, Uvi creates art in "A Favorite Son," but art never distanced from the reader; literary fiction for our times.
Read all of Uvi's tales of the Old Testament and learn something about your own history, your own emotions, your own culture while you're enjoying the sumptuous feast laid before you. Did I say feast? Well, there is a certain meal in this particular tale, which nourishes the story and the reader in surprising ways...
It's the gentle twists of difference that bring this tale of Jacob and Esau to life and give it power. Yankle, the younger son, grows up resenting his bigger, stronger, marginally older brother. Parental favorites wound. Meanwhile the beloved mother appears as a foreigner, carried away from home and family (and riches) to live in a tent with her past safely hidden in a box. She doesn't wear a burka. Her shoes are painfully inappropriate. She doesn't belong, and neither does her son.
Author Uvi Poznansky adds a sense of immediacy to the tale as Yankle looks back on his past with a curious mix of modern and ancient perspectives. There's a pleasing humor as he muses over religions born from his home or complains of "no bus ticket to be found; and... a plane ticket was out of the question." There's all the delight of the familiar when Jacob's ladder appears, and all the joy of the new as hints and details sneak quietly into the tale. Simultaneously bringing past and present to life, the author gives this Bible story a powerful modern-day relevance behind its haunting antiquity, with every detail inspiring further thought and contemplation. A masterful retelling.
Disclosure: I was lucky enough to buy this when it was free.
This is a real good book and I look forward to reading more of Uvi Poznansky's work.
Most recent customer reviews
This book is an excellent reminder of this lesson!
I enjoyed it, you will too!!!
Having read this author before, I came to expect smooth, well-paced writing that would...Read more