The Angel of Forgetfulness

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Viking, 2005 - Fiction - 403 pages
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When Steve Stern appeared on the literary scene The New York Times Book Reviewhailed him as “a prodigiously talented writer who arrives unheralded like one of the apparitions in his own stories.” In his new novel, The Angel of Forgetfulness, he interweaves three stories about characters who take flight from their ordinary lives and are plunged into extraordinary circumstances. At the center of it all is an unfinished manuscript—an adventure about a fallen angel named Mocky and his half-mortal son Nachman, who both take up residence on the Lower East Side of New York circa 1900. Their story has been written by Nathan Hart, a timid proofreader for The Jewish Daily Forward, who woos a young woman named Keni with his exotic tale. Seduced by the power of his own imagination, Nathan is drawn deliriously away from Keni into the world of his story, the Jewish underworld of arsonists, horse poisoners, and thieves. More than half a century later, Keni, on her deathbed, gives Nathan’s now-tattered manuscript to her young nephew, Saul, with the injunction that Saul complete the story himself. Saul’s evasion of the task prompts a journey into the crucible of the sixties, one fueled by sex, drugs, and the dust of a golem in the attic of a medieval synagogue in Prague.

Dexterously juggling the narratives of Saul, Nathan, Mocky, and Nachman until they all merge in the novel’s satisfying close, Stern has created a magical tour de force of the storyteller’s art, one that celebrates the turbulent romance between past and present, art and obsession.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A dying woman hands on an unfinished manuscript to a young student, in a murky, prolix tale by Stern (Plague of Dreamers, 1994, etc.).Saul Bozoff is 19 when, in 1969, he arrives in New York City. From ... Read full review

The angel of forgetfulness

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Heaven and earth engage in a tug of war over the Jewish soul in this sprawling historical bildungsroman. Stern (The Wedding Jester) combines three distinct but interlinked narratives. The first tells ... Read full review


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About the author (2005)

Steve Stern is the author of several short story collections, including The Wedding Jester(winner of the National Jewish Book Award), Isaac and the Undertaker’s Daughter(winner of a Pushcart Writer’s Choice Award and an O. Henry Prize), and Lazar Malkin Enters Heaven(winner of the Edward Lewis Wallant Award for Jewish American fiction). He has also written three novels and two books for children. He teaches creative writing at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.

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