Wednesday, May 9, 2012

book review: I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits

The basics: I Am Forbidden, the English language debut of Anouk Markovits, is the story of four generations of a Hasidic Jewish family. Their story begins in Transylvania before World War II, but then spreads to Paris and contemporary Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

My thoughts: While I didn't know quite what to expect from this novel when I sat down, I did not expect to finish the novel before getting up. I did not expect to postpone dinner three hours so I could keep reading, and I certainly did not expect to be enchanted by Hasidic Jewish tradition. I would stop short of calling I Am Forbidden a thriller, but it was certainly a thrilling read.

What I found most remarkable in this novel was how well Markovits explained the religious traditions and customs in a way that made them understandable despite their rigidity. The characters, particularly Atara and her adopted sister Mila, shaped my thoughts on opinions on this religion as they grew up and found the words for understanding their own faith. Markovits made me care about these people and understand their beliefs.

The verdict: While the epicenter of this novel is the Hasidic Jewish community, it is also a stunning, moving tale of family, love, honor and secrecy. Markovits skillfully uses pace, character development and intrigue to make this novel absolutely riveting. Highly recommended to just about everyone.

Rating: 5 out of 5
Length: 302 pages
Publication date: May 8, 2012
Source: publisher via TLC Book Tours

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy I Am Forbidden from the Book Depository or Amazon (Kindle version.)

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!

22 comments:

  1. I am reading this one soon, and am very excited about it! I am glad to hear that you thought it was so riveting. That bodes very well for me. Excellent and very enticing review. I can't wait to get started!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Zibilee, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I will look forward to your review!

      Delete
  2. Wonderful review! I will be starting this book today, and you've made me so excited about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anna, I hope you also enjoy it as much as I did. I'll look forward to reading your thoughts soon!

      Delete
  3. Man … I'd NEVER get away with postponing dinner for 3 hours to read!! There would be a mutiny! I love when a book hooks me like that so I'm happy for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To be fair--Mr. Nomadreader is the chef. I simply kept asking him not to start cooking dinner until I could finish!

      Delete
  4. Everything you've said is true!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow you've got my attention! This sounds really good. I love it when a book sucks you in from the start when you aren't expecting it to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brenna--I love that feeling too. It's why we read, isn't it?

      Delete
  6. Replies
    1. Yes! I'd love to hear your thoughts on it, Sam. And perhaps we'll see it on the 2013 Orange Prize longlist?

      Delete
  7. Fantastic review! You've most certainly captured my attention!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andi--I think you'd like this one too!

      Delete
  8. Sounds fascinating... and there isn't much out there about this population!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a fascinating glimpse into this population, but it was also just a wonderful novel!

      Delete
  9. Wow, this sounds completely fantastic! I can't wait to read it myself.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Heather! I hope you like it too.

      Delete
  10. "While I didn't know quite what to expect from this novel when I sat down, I did not expect to finish the novel before getting up" - I love unexpected books like these! Sounds like a great read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't that feeling wonderful? I took a bit of a chance on this novel, and it more than paid off!

      Delete
  11. I've never heard of this novel but it sounds like nothing I've ever read before. A must read now though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amused--I'd love to hear your thoughts on it! Enjoy!

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to comment. Happy reading!