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In the Image: A Novel Paperback – November 17, 2003
"Devoted" by Dean Koontz
For the first time in paperback, from Dean Koontz, the master of suspense, comes an epic thriller about a terrifying killer and the singular compassion it will take to defeat him. | Learn more
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- Richard Snow, American Heritage
“Not merely a striking success as a whole but a technical tour de force.”
- David Gelernter, Commentary
“A stunning example of how to thread the warp of Jewish history into the woof of contemporary American Jewish life.”
- Hadassah Magazine
“An ebullient and vibrant new voice.”
- Jewish Week
“Horn creates small worlds, beautifully detailed and textured, that ultimately fit together.”
- Jewish Woman Magazine
“Riveting―compulsive reading, authoritative from the first sentence. A fine book from a powerful new imagination.”
- PaknTreger Magazine
“Starred Review. An enchanting, introspective and emotionally charged debut.”
- Publishers Weekly
“[An] unsettling, otherworldly novel.”
- The Boston Globe
“Incredibly poignant ... with audacious appropriation of lines and themes from Jewish texts.... [Horn is] a writer with great self-confidence.”
- The Jerusalem Post
“Impressive...remarkable...All of the characters struggle for those gemlike qualities of passion, brilliance, clarity, fire.”
- The New Orleans Times-Picayune
About the Author
- Item Weight : 8.8 ounces
- Paperback : 280 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0393325261
- ISBN-13 : 978-0393325263
- Product Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.76 x 8.25 inches
- Publisher : W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint Edition (November 17, 2003)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #694,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Where this could have been just another tale of the Jewish immigrant experience, Horn takes it on one unexpected twist after another. For example, Landsmann's grandmother, Leah, immigrates back to Eastern Europe when her young, new husband dies tragically in a New York fire. Her son abandons his emotionally ill wife to a Nazi hospital and certain death, only to commit suicide after coming to America and not fitting in with the survivors of concentration camps.
By contrast, Leora's first boyfriend, Jason, a soccer jock, comes from such a secular Jewish family he cannot even identify a Chasidic Jewish family when he sees one. By the end of the book, he is a Chasidic Jew, working in his father-in-law's diamond business.
Leora meets her fiancé, Jake, at a Spinoza lecture in Amsterdam. Their attraction and affection is touching and full of promise. Unknowingly, Jake buys the diamond for Leora's engagement ring from Jason.
Early in the book, an old man with dementia - Mr. Rosenthal - repeatedly tells a young volunteer to become a deep-sea diver: "Deep sea divers, they go and get things back from the bottom of the ocean, don't they?"
Mr. Rosenthal then describes how -- as the ship that brought him to America entered New York harbor -- people thronged out of steerage. Mr. Rosenthal thought they wanted to see the Statue of Liberty. When he got closer, he saw they were throwing their tefillin overboard "because tefillin were something from the Old World, and here in the New World they didn't need them anymore."
As her wedding approaches, Leora has a dream in which she dives into the waters around Manhattan. As she goes deeper, she sees wondrous things left behind by those who went before -- things she desperately wants to save.
In the Image ends with hope. What many Jewish immigrants turned their backs on, their grandchildren and great-grandchildren are rediscovering and treasuring.
I am one of many who find this book fascinating. The plot is compelling but the stories keep shifting like being immersed in a sandstorm. Leora seems to be the protagonist but so does Bill. The chapter with Bill in the museum enthralled with miniature doll houses could be puzzling at first. But contrast it with the life he endures without love, beauty, or predictability.
The most puzzling is "The Book of the Hurricane". A very lengthly poetic tract written like a Bibllical tract gives a confrontation between God and a Job-like Bill. Does Bill expect too much of God? Is the world built in God's image? This could be an off putting section to the reader who expects realism. As would the next section, although just a dream. Leora a reached an underwater part of Manhattan and finds Bill holding his slides. However they are all blank. Bill thrusts these blank slides at Leora, his task of giving meaning to her life is complete. She is now prepared to live "in the image" She is being shown that she must live in the present rather than in the past. The image we should seek is God's image.
The mystical and religious elements, especially the Torah, influenced her next novel "A World to Come". It too is a profound probing into life and Judaism.
"In the Image" is not an easy read, for it is filled with symbols and examines what provides our lives with meaning. It is a moving work of fiction that takes us into unexpected spheres. I know that one day soon I will reread this novel to gain more insight into the brilliant writing and the message Dara Horn imparts.
Top reviews from other countries
In essence, the book is about different generations of Jews reacting in different ways to fairly similar situations that they experienced. It thus fits into the emerging genre of New American Jewish writing (with Foer; Krauss, etc), which was spawned from the old guard of Roth, Bellow etc...While it interested me on this level - as part of an oeuvre - as an independent work, the book felt stilted, overly-orchestrated - too geared up to fit in the set-plays tha Horn had probably thought up over the previous few years. There are moments of great insight, and some pithy aphorisms, but both are far too scarce, and after 150 pages I began to feel exasperated and even slightly bored by the one-dimensional characters. In fact, it's precisely Horn's determination to have the character's appear as real-living-breathing-enigmnatic creations that makes them feel so tacked-on and unconvincing. Nothing feels natural in this book - just compare with Foer's 'Everything is Illuminated', where we have three-dimensional characters exploring themselves and their Jewishness (as well as that of others) in a much more interesting and entertaining way.
I thought the idea about the tefillin (two small black boxes with black straps attached to them that Jewish men place on their head and arm each weekday morning during prayer) had potential, and worked well at moments, but her attempts to work a sort of magic-realism aura into this and a few other parts of the novel constituted the most lacklustre parts, because they just felt too forced.
Horn writes in the novel about adolesents searching for their true selves, and from the quality of the excerpt of her third novel - and the difference in style - I would have to say that 'In the Image' was part of her jounrney of novelistic self-discovery. I hope she writes how she wants to write in the future, and not how she feels she should be writing (as a Jew?) - because 'In the Image' felt too much like she was writing in a style that she wanted to aspire to, rather than in a style that came naturally to her.
Despite my disappointment, I'll still read her new novel.
There are parallels to the “Book of Job” and the author’s main point is that people are shaped not by their bad experiences but by what they do with them.
So far, so good, However, I found the story uneven and the characters fairly colourless (including the constantly blushing Jake). Leora, the female protagonist comes across as quite insipid and lacking in personality and though there are some poignant scenes, I wonder what was the point of the ocelot, the long lesson on diamonds, etc., etc.