I finished this book several hours ago thinking about it ever since. Magical realism with Jewish-Russian themes. The color and light of a Chagall painting told in chapter, verse and fable. The horror and memory of countless acts of violence spanning from the destruction of the first temple and the diaspera of millenea. The savagry of the 20th century masked in political "isms", leading to the terror of today. This book is about all these things and much much more.
The stories and the characters will live with me for a long, long, time. I loved the stories by "The Hidden One" an acquaintence and contemporary of Chagall whose many layered stories were later retrieved from the dustpan of obscurity and given new life as children's books complete with illustrations. I loved the characters of the fraternal twins and thier parents and the vivid retelling of the experience of Vietnam. And I loved the way the stories of the past and present echoed each other in a life affirming manner despite the horrors human beings inflict upon each other.
The last chapter was a revelation to me. Without giving anything away I will say it captured my imagination and my emotions on a profound level. I am delighted to find a writer new to me who can paint pictures and stories with words that are both memorable and touching.