The Incandescent Threads
by Richard Zimler
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Pub Date 07 Nov 2022 | Archive Date 07 Dec 2022
‘Zimler is an honest, powerful writer’ – The Guardian
From the acclaimed author of The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon and The Warsaw Anagrams comes an unforgettable, deeply moving ode to solidarity, heroism and the kind of love capable of overcoming humanity’s greatest horror.
Maybe none of us is ever aware of our true significance.
Benjamin Zarco and his cousin Shelly are the only two members of their family to survive the Holocaust. In the decades since, each man has learned, in his own unique way, to carry the burden of having outlived all the others, while ever wondering why he was spared.
Saved by a kindly piano teacher who hid him as a child, Benni suppresses the past entirely and becomes obsessed with studying kabbalah in search of the ‘Incandescent Threads’ – nearly invisible fibres that he believes link everything in the universe across space and time. But his mystical beliefs are tested when the birth of his son brings the ghosts of the past to his doorstep.
Meanwhile, Shelly – devastatingly handsome, charming and exuberantly bisexual – comes to believe that pleasures of the flesh are his only escape, and takes every opportunity to indulge his desires. That is, until he begins a relationship with a profoundly traumatised Canadian soldier and artist who helped to liberate Bergen-Belsen – and might just be connected to one of the cousins’ departed kin.
Across six non-linear mosaic pieces, we move from a Poland decimated by World War II to modern-day New York and Boston, hearing friends and relatives of Benni and Shelly tell of the deep influence of the beloved cousins on their lives. For within these intimate testimonies may lie the key to why they were saved and the unique bond that unites them.
‘Rarely is a novel published that evidences such extraordinary literary talent… AN ABSOLUTE MASTERPIECE’ – Açoriano Oriental
A Note From the Publisher
Richard Zimler was born in New York in 1956 and now resides in Porto, Portugal. His twelve novels have been translated into twenty-three languages and have appeared on bestseller lists in twelve different countries, including the United States, the UK, Australia, Brazil, Italy and Portugal. Five of his works have been nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award, the richest prize in the English-speaking world, and he has won several other accolades for his fiction across Europe and North America. The Incandescent Threads is the latest in his Sephardic Cycle, an acclaimed group of independent works that explore the lives of different branches and generations of a Portuguese-Jewish family, the Zarcos. zimler.com / @RichardZimler
‘Rarely is a novel published that evidences such extraordinary literary talent… AN ABSOLUTE MASTERPIECE’ – Açoriano Oriental on Portuguese Edition
PRAISE FOR RICHARD ZIMLER 's Sephardic Cycle
‘Unforgettable, poetic and original’ Simon Sebag Montefiore
‘Pacey and accessible . . . deeply moving’ THE OBSERVER
‘Luminously written’ HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY
‘Compelling’ THE SPECTATOR
‘Scrupulously researched . . . Fascinating’ THE INDEPENDENT
‘Remarkable’ TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT ‘Captivating’ PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
The author will be launching his book at the Portuguese Embassy and Daunt Books Hampstead in July 2022.
Author press interviews expected. Previous titles received strong praise and coverage from international media, including The Independent, TLS, The Spectator, The Guardian, The Observer, The Jewish Chronicle, Jerusalem Post, Publishers Weekly and Booklist
Physical ARCs have been sent out to media and potential endorsees from March 2022
Any publicity queries should be directed to: Robert Harries, Editor, Parthian Books | firstname.lastname@example.org | @rjph91
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 30 members
Thanks to Netgalley for the chance to review this amazing novel. The title perfectly sums up the nature of the story it contains. The characters, their lives and motivations, demons and drives were so relatable and eloquent. The harshness and beauty of the lives they were able to build in spite of the horrors they experienced. I gained a deeper understanding of the cultural and personal ghosts that haunt so many and why. The numerous ways to be haunted and grateful, cursed yet blessed. I was occasionally confused with how the story jumped from character to character, time period to time period. But it always came together and pulled me in. Incandescent threads connecting our lives and destinies to one another.
I truly can't recommend this novel highly enough or to enough people. Everyone should read this book and have a chance to be made better by it.
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