I read this book when I was a teen - 40 years ago - and it changed my life. It's a profoundly humanizing work. It's been published in sixteen languages and won the Prix Goncourt, considered to be France's best-known and most prestigious literary award. It traces the history of the persecution of Jews from the 1100s though WWII through one family, employing the myth of the Lamed Vov, hidden holy people, 36 of whom are always alive at one time in the world. I'll quote what is currently the top review on Amazon.com (attributed simply to "Amazon Customer") to give a sense: "Devastating, transcending, unspeakably beautiful... I find it hard to string together an adequate sentence to describe this book. I can only come up with images...vast, timeless, dream-like, sometimes surreal, but totally human and earthbound at the same time. Gently funny, lush, warm and tender, fluid, truly poetic, painful, pure, sacred, prayer-like."
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