Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Marrying of Chani Kaufman” as Want to Read:
The Marrying of Chani Kaufman
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Marrying of Chani Kaufman

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  1,130 ratings  ·  213 reviews
19 year-old Chani lives in the ultra-orthodox Jewish community of North West London. She has never had physical contact with a man, but is bound to marry a stranger. The rabbi's wife teaches her what it means to be a Jewish wife, but Rivka has her own questions to answer. Soon buried secrets, fear and sexual desire bubble to the surface in a story of liberation and choice;...more
Paperback, 350 pages
Published August 1st 2013 by Sandstone Press (first published January 1st 2013)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Marrying of Chani Kaufman, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Marrying of Chani Kaufman

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth OzekiThe Lowland by Jhumpa LahiriThe Luminaries by Eleanor CattonTransAtlantic by Colum McCannThe Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín
2013 Man Booker Prize Longlist
12th out of 13 books — 218 voters
Life After Life by Kate AtkinsonThe Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil GaimanThe Rosie Project by Graeme SimsionTransAtlantic by Colum McCannThe Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
Man Booker Prize Eligible 2013
86th out of 177 books — 271 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Sep 29, 2013 Elaine rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
Only HaShem knows what the Booker Prize folks were thinking when they longlisted this one. This is chick lit in the most derogatory sense of the term - badly written female-centric drivel about romance and family. It's also a bubbe meise in the way my own bubbe used that phrase - which she did not use in the Wikipedia-approved sense of an old wives' tale, to her, in her Yinglish vernacular, bubbe meiser meant an movie or book appealing to sentimentality (so many times after we'd both gotten chok...more
"The bride stood like a pillar of salt, rigid under layers of itchy petticoats." This inept metaphor is the first line of this insulting, cliche-ridden, unreadable novel, and is a good summary of the author's acute hated for all things Jewish and orthodox.

Having this book long-listed for the Man Booker Prize was like awarding Yasir Arafat the Nobel Peace Prize. Ostensibly this is a story about a very young couple, Chanie and Baruch, who marry after an almost non-existent, rapid courtship, but it...more
Frieda Vizel
I should begin my review by saying two things about my own interest in this book: 1. I grew up ultra-orthodox and 2. I left ultra-orthodoxy at 25.

The book is a compilation of several fictional stories about a few individuals in the ultra-orthodox community. The stories are unoriginal; about a couple meeting through a shidduch, a meddlesome mother in law, a young yeshiva boy who has an affair with a black girl and a middle-aged woman who runs off from the community. The stories are cut up in cha...more
Mark Staniforth
There is one significant flaw at the heart of Eve Harris’ debut novel, 'The Marrying Of Chani Kaufman'. It is one which will have no end of academics wringing their hands in exasperation; Folio founders sighing with relief that their new Prize actually has a point.
And it is this: ‘The Marrying Of Chani Kaufman’, Harris’s story of the imminent marriage of two young Haredi Jews, is far, far too readable. It is carry-round-the-house too readable. It is stay-up-way-too-late too readable. It is absol...more
Diane S.
3.5 I knew absolutely nothing about the Jewish Orthodox culture before reading this book, so I could not understand many of the terms and words used. Thankfully a glossary was included at the end of the book.

Chani is a young woman, about to be married. All marriages in this culture are arranged through a matchmaker, and there are specific steps taken leading up to the event. The young woman are kept ignorant on exactly what is going to happen on their wedding night. Chain is a rather more spirit...more
Rebecca Foster
“The bride stood like a pillar of salt, rigid under layers of itchy petticoats.” I loved that first line, with its biblical resonance and its hint that this is not an entirely comfortable marriage. Chani is the fifth of eight daughters in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family in North London’s Golders Green. I’ve read another novel set in London’s Jewish community, Francesca Segal’s stunning debut, The Innocents; although Chani is not nearly as sophisticated, it taught me more about orthodox customs....more
Jakey Gee
Beseder, but not exactly yoffi.

This is, of course, a promising proposition and ought to be fascinating, after all. I give you: an intimate look at the unknown, parallel Charedi universe. You know: black fedoras, white shirts, living daily life in awe of all-seeing ha Shem (all-seeing, that is, apart from the bit where you get-around-his-objection-to-you-showing-your-hair-by-donning-a-nylon-syrup, all-seeing).

I suppose I went in hoping for, well, a sort of Brick Lane goes Golders Green. For stro...more
Please don't read this book if you don't know a lot about judaism.

I would have liked to give this book a bad review from start to finish, however I can't. The characters are well developed and three-dimensional. I am sure some people from the Haredi community do feel the way Eve Harris describes it. But she makes one belief that this is the majority. It is NOT!

The gross generalisation and simplification about a religious niche is appalling.

If you don't know a lot about judaism or are committed t...more
Sep 09, 2014 Antonomasia rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Antonomasia by: Booker longlist
Likeable and a page-turner - despite the characters and plot being quite clichéd and the writing style not enough to transcend that.

There are a few clumsy similes using biblical imagery but otherwise the writing is quite plain, bluntly spelling out far too much and making the occasional detour into what sounds like typical creative-writing course description.

Perhaps it's because I've read quite a few books set in strict religious communities and other restrictive societies, but it was formulai...more
Ben Dutton
It is a great success to have your debut novel long-listed for The Man Booker Prize. It means reviews from critics who would probably have overlooked you. It means sales you’d probably otherwise not have gotten. It also means your novel is looked at far more critically than it would have been had it not been long-listed. The last few weeks have seen a number of reviews of Eve Harris’ debut novel, The Marrying of Chani Kaufman, published through small Scottish label, Sandstone Press, and the revi...more
I really enjoyed reading this book. If you want to learn about women's lives in an Orthodox Jewish community (this one is in England), this novel is excellent. The writer knows and writes about her characters extremely well. The world is small and claustrophobic, but it there are women (and men) who question, who step outside bounds. But there are consequences.

There are universal themes, including friendships across different lifestyles, searching for answers in religion/spirituality, desires v...more
Chani Kaufman and Baruch Levy are young observant Jews who are to be married after only a few meetings, as dictated by religion and tradition. Also according to religion and tradition they have never touched, never even held hands. This book does a lovely job of depicting the anxieties and challenges associated with such an arrangement while respecting its validity and the joy which can come of it. The characters in this book are multi-dimensional, each struggling in his or her own way to define...more
Green Giraffe
This has the sort of libelous depictions of Jewry that is tantamount to antisemitic propaganda. Yes, the author is Jewish, but she has absolutely no knowledge, no intimacy with the world she claims to depict.

How do I know? I'm an Orthodox Jew!

One or two of the laws she gets correct, but everything else? Laughably inaccurate. Harris is so devoid of vision, slavishly devoted to her biases against the religious (I had a few college professors like her) that she can't even comprehend that a religi...more
The closed world of the very religious, of any religion, always fascinates me (I wanted to be named Sarah and be a Quaker when I was a kid - liked the quilting idea!). This book made the Man Booker long list and intrigued me. The story switches back and forth between Chani, the young bright eyed bride of the title, but also her future husband and most interestingly that of the family of the rabbi and his wife. A community that most of us would describe as very black and white (not only because o...more
2.5 stars. Overall, this book was "meh."

I can see how someone completely unfamiliar with Orthodox Judaism, or someone who has never read a novel about religious Jews, would find this book compelling. But for me, it only offered stereotypical characters who I've encountered in any number of books of this genre. It offered nothing new. The characters weren't as well drawn as they should/could have been and as you say, their motivations were not well explored. As for the writing, it was a quick, l...more
Chana Billet
Eat your heart our Wendy Shalit. The genre of Jewish women writing about female Jewish protagonists continues.

I really enjoyed Eve Harris' debut novel, which was deservedly long-listed for the Booker Prize. Granted, she wrote about a world similar to mine, but I enjoyed the novel with the same enthusiasm I reserve for ethnic writers like Jumpa Lahiri, just substitute Indian culture for orthodox Jews.

Her characters are engaging, her details spot-on. At times, I laughed at how specifically funny s...more
Jun 16, 2014 Robin rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one, really
So, I was looking forward to reading this, as I live in an area with very few Jews and, for reasons I won't get into, we haven't been making the trip to our synagogue lately. A Jewish-themed contemporary near-winner of a prestigious literary prize: I want to read it!

I am sorry to report that, 4 chapters in, this is a pretty cliche-ridden story. I can't write anything better than the many other reviewers on goodreads who have expressed disappointment in this one. I had hoped for a smart, feeling,...more
Patricia O'Brien
I cannot see any reason at all why this book is on the Booker list. It's not well written - I was also looking forward to gaining some insight into Jewish faith, customs and traditions, but even in this aspect the book was ineffective. Those who like 'kitchen sink' stuff would probably like it - I didn't.
I have no idea how this book was nominated for a Man-Booker prize. I'm not even sure why I finished it. I could have stopped reading this 1/4 of the way through and saved myself the time and the aggravation.

This was generally terrible. None of the characters have any redeeming qualities, none of them are even somewhat likable. The story - what story? There really isn't one. It jumps through time to describe the courtship of Chani, and then even further back in time to describe the life and court...more
I received a copy of this book through the goodreads giveaway in exchange for a review.

I absolutely fell in love with Eve Harris’ new novel, The Marrying of Chani Kaufman; it’s a poignant and exquisite story full of vivid characters that will beguile you. I know very little of the Orthodox jewish culture and this book allowed me to peek into their world. I was mesmerized and enchanted and I, for one, certainly did not want this amazing story to end. The author has written about a world that wil...more
Ceri Chaudhry
The Marrying of Chani Kaufman by Eve Harris

If you are looking for a book to really immerse yourself in, this lovely book by Eve Harris would be a great choice. The novel focuses on a group of characters from an orthodox Jewish community in north London. This, in itself, makes for a fascinating read. I learnt so much that I didn’t know and it was really enlightening to find out more about the daily life of orthodox Jewish families. I became completely engrossed in reading about this way of life,...more
"Frum" in Golders Green/Hendon LONDON

A tender, and at times frank peak behind the Scheitel (wig) culture of the Ultra-Orthodox community in the Golders Green/Hendon area of London.

It is a brave thing that a non-Haredi chooses to write about a culture that keeps its doors firmly closed to the outside world of modern Western culture. But I think the author has really achieved a good balance of insight, empathy and reality (as far as one can tell, of course), and for this she was rewarded by being...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I really enjoyed this book. Like a monster, I devoured it within a day, learning more and more about the Jewish Ultra-Orthodox religion and lifestyle that I had ever known before.

This book revolves around Chani Kaufman, a young 19 year-old girl about to enter an arranged marriage. It also entails the stories of many other people in her community, as well as Chani and her groom to be. You realise how difficult it is to be brought up in a world with strict religious traditions, but yet being so c...more
Sally Barker
Whilst I understand that some people might find this book trite and lacking accuracy, I think for many it will be a brief insight into a world which we feel we ought to know more about. If only to be able to help women like Chani and the Rebbetzin.
As a Jew myself I am as far from these women as a non-Jew. That in itself interests me, and saddens me.
This book made me realise for the first time that many of the women I see on Golders Green Road, pushing prams, heavily pregnant, looking tired and...more
Deborah Feldman
Like a surgeon cutting into human flesh for the first time, Eve Harris audaciously dissects a community defined by inscrutable social mores; her profound reverence for her characters in no way hinders her intrepid plunge into the murky viscera of this complex world. Readers will be mesmerized by Harris's unforgettable voice; this powerful debut novel is a startling and effervescent contribution to a canon much in need of enrichment.

I read this book in two days -- it's a page turner, and I found myself caught up in the characters and their stories.

BUT my enjoyment didn't cancel out the fact that I found it problematic. It's incredibly challenging to write a novel about an under-represented, little known community (here, the extreme Orthodox Jewish community in London). As an outsider, I can never know if what was represented was accurate or based purely on stereotypes. Yes, the author herself is from that community -- do...more
Renita D'Silva
An astutely written story about the emotional turmoil of an Orthodox Jewish girl on the cusp of marriage, contrasting with the story of the Rabbi's wife, who has been married for years and has arrived at a crossroads, questioning her choices even as she guides the young brides-to-be in her care.
As a (non-practicing) Jew myself, I have no doubt that some details were tweaked and stereotypes were magnified for dramatic license, but I enjoyed the story nonetheless. I attended a college with a strong Jewish presence, and I could easily envision characters like Chani, Baruch and Avromi as part of the student body. I found the Avromi/Shona storyline very interesting, and it makes me wonder how often things like this happen! Perhaps my favorite part of the book was Harris' portrayal of Rebecc...more
The Marrying of Chani Kaufman
by Eve Harris

19 year-old Chani lives in the ultra-orthodox Jewish community of North West London. She has never had physical contact with a man, but is bound to marry a stranger. The rabbi's wife teaches her what it means to be a Jewish wife, but Rivka has her own questions to answer. Soon buried secrets, fear and sexual desire bubble to the surface in a story of liberation and choice; not to mention what happens on the wedding night

Chani Kaufman and Bar...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Unexploded
  • Almost English
  • The Kills (The Kills, #1-4)
  • The Spinning Heart
  • Five Star Billionaire
  • Harvest
  • We Need New Names
  • The Testament of Mary
  • Derby Day
  • From A to X
  • TransAtlantic
  • Heliopolis
  • Philida
  • The Last Hundred Days
  • The Lighthouse
  • The Undertaking
  • Skios
  • The Essence of the Thing
Eve Harris was born to Israeli-Polish parents in Chiswick, West London, in 1973. She taught for 12 years at inner-city comprehensives and independent schools in London and also in Tel Aviv, after moving to Israel in 1999. She returned to London in 2002 to resume teaching at an all girls' Catholic convent school. 'The Marrying of Chani Kaufman' was inspired by her final year of teaching at an all g...more
More about Eve Harris...
the marrying of chain kaufman

Share This Book