Pub Date 03 May 2019
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Julie Zuckerman’s moving and engrossing debut novel-in-stories, THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH, tells the story of awkward but endearing Jeremiah Gerstler—the son of Jewish immigrants, brilliant political science professor, husband, father. Jeremiah has yearned for respect and acceptance his entire life, and no matter his success, he still strives for more. As a boy, he was feisty and irreverent and constantly compared to his sweet and well-behaved older brother, Lenny. At the university, he worries he is a token hire. Occasionally, he’s combative with colleagues, especially as he ages. But there is a sweetness to Gerstler, too, and an abiding loyalty and affection for those he loves. When he can overcome his worst impulses, his moments of humility become among the best measures of his achievements. In a tale spanning eight decades and interwoven with the Jewish experience of the 20th century, Julie Zuckerman charts Jeremiah’s life from boyhood, through service in WWII, to marriage and children, a professorship and finally retirement, with compassion, honesty, and a respect that even Gerstler himself would find touching.
A Note From the Publisher
“This book is the moving, endearing story of Jeremiah Gerstler—son, father, husband, academic, Jew—who tries over the course of his life to be the best person he can, and who will inspire his readers to do the same. Jumping backwards and forwards in time to hone in on various periods in Gerstler's life, this novel-in-stories offers a sensitive and nuanced portrayal of some of life's most painful and private moments.” —Ilana Kurshan, author of If All the Seas Were Ink, winner of the 2018 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature
"One of the characters in Julie Zuckerman’s novel in stories, The Book of Jeremiah, refers to the biblical book of the same title as “all doom and gloom,” but Zuckerman’s book about Jeremiah Gerstler and his family is anything but. It contains considerable loss, trouble, sorrow, and suffering, but its thirteen stories are also laced with love, forgiveness, hope, optimism, and even what we might call salvation. It is a book that acknowledges the darkness while leading the Gerstlers, and us, toward the light—and toward each other. Reading these wise and moving stories, you’ll feel like a long-lost relative who’s returned home just in time for the family reunion."—David Jauss, author of Nice People and Glossolalia