A Blessing on the Moon

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Algonquin Books, 2010 - Fiction - 272 pages
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Chaim Skibelski was a successful businessman, husband, and father before he was shot along with the other Jews from his small village. Instead of resting peacefully in the World to Come, Chaim wanders the earth and encounters a world that is at once absurd and oddly familiar. His adventures first take him back to his old house, where a Polish family has taken residence, and where he is invisible to all except their young, dying daughter, whom he befriends. When the moon inexplicably falls from the sky, Chaim is beckoned by the town rabbi (who has undergone a remarkable transformation of his own) to accompany him on an extraordinary journey, the consequences of which are greater than Chaim realizes. He meets a talkative head that belongs to the soldier who may have shot him. He visits a grand hotel that caters to the dead with mysterious comforts. And he helps two eccentric holy men search for the fallen moon. Through it all, Chaim manages to find hope and compassion in the most astounding circumstances, discovering beneath the human propensity for destruction the promise of renewal.
 

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A Blessing on the Moon

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Chaim Skibelski is dead. Or is he? In the opening pages, he is shot and pushed into a pit along with his fellow Jews in a village in Poland. Chaim, accompanied by his rabbi in the form of a crow ... Read full review

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Contents

THE COLOR OF POISON BERRIES
69
THE SMALLER TO RULE BY NIGHT
189
INTERVIEWS WITH JOSEPH SKIBELL
259
The Ester and Chaim Skibelski family
269
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
271
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About the author (2010)

Possessing "a gifted, committed imagination" (New York Times), Joseph Skibell is the author of three novels, A Blessing on the Moon, The English Disease, and A Curable Romantic; the forthcoming collection of nonfiction stories My Father's Guitar and Other Imaginary Things; and another forthcoming nonfiction work, Six Memos from the Last Millennium: A Novelist Reads the Talmud. He has received numerous awards, including the Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Sami Rohr Award in Jewish Literature, Story magazine's Short Short-Story Prize, and the Turner Prize for First Fiction. As director of the Richard Ellmann Lectures in Modern Literature from 2008 to 2015, he sang and played guitar onstage with both Margaret Atwood and Paul Simon. A professor at Emory University, Skibell has also taught at the University of Wisconsin and the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas. Recently a Senior Fellow at the Bill and Carol Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry, he is the Winship Distinguished Research Professor in the Humanities at Emory University. A native Texan, he lives mostly in his head.

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