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The Bones and the Book

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  94 ratings  ·  18 reviews
In 1890, Aliza Rudinsk, a young Orthodox Jewish immigrant from the Ukraine, came to Seattle via New York's Lower East Side expecting to build a good life for herself. When Aliza's bones turn up in Seattle's underground streets in 1965 along with a book written in Yiddish, recently widowed empty nester Rachel Mazursky offers to translate the book. Aliza's surprising and poi ...more
Paperback, 262 pages
Published October 15th 2012 by Oconee Spirit Press (first published September 28th 2012)
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3.77  · 
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 ·  94 ratings  ·  18 reviews

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Mar 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Historical fiction - women
I would rate this at least 3.5. This was a really interesting, informational book - actually a book within a book or two stories of different times but with similarities of problems. Two women from 2 different time periods struggling with their lives, their place in the world, who they are and simply surviving, although the 1960s woman had family support. I had read several of this authors earlier books and enjoyed them; that is the reason I picked this one up. However, this might be characteriz ...more
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book is not so much a novel as an historical sketch of what life was like for Seattle's Jews at the turn of the 20th century and in the early 1960s. There's a mystery of sorts, which is more or less solved in an unsatisfying manner. Lots of old Seattle landmarks are name-checked, and if you really put your mind to it you could probably figure out which prominent real-life families are reflected in the fictional ones. The exhibit a few years ago at MOHAI about the history of Seattle's Jewish ...more
Lauri Holmes
Oct 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished-2014
Every once in awhile I slowly emerge, bleary-eyed, from the land of faerie where I spend most of my reading life and take up a book set in the more mundane world in which I actually reside. The Bones and the Book, by Jane Isenberg, is the latest endeavor in that category. I first discovered this book in the review section of the Seattle Times. I have always been partial to books whose settings are familiar to me, and The Bones and the Book covers two different periods of Seattle's history, the t ...more
Dina Tanners
Dec 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book.

While the story itself was fascinating, I think several things made it special for me:
1) I grew up in Seattle and graduated from high school in 1965. The book was set in Seattle in 1965, so I very much recognized a lot of the landmarks and "customs" of the times, especially in the Jewish community and the values of the people. It brought back memories that were worth reexamining. Some were quite poignant, including the division between the Eastern European Jews (my fam
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
In 1965 Seattle, a Jewish woman, recently widowed, translates a Yiddish diary from a Russian immigrant girl who may have been murdered at the turn of the century.

The plot is mildly interesting, but the actual story is not well written nor very descriptive: major characters come in and out (eventually disappearing), places are mentioned in such a way as to make no sense to non-natives, and the conclusion comes from out of no where by huge coincidences. Might have been better as a longer book, but
Joyce Yarrow
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This riveting and beautifully written historical murder mystery takes us on two adventures set in different timeframes - one takes place in the Gold Rush era, where the iron will of Feigele, a young Jewish immigrant, is tested at every turn and the other is set in the Seattle of the 1960's, where the recently widowed Rachel confronts many of the same horrific challenges as her deceased counterpart. The question of identity permeates both stories, which merge at the end with a brilliant solution ...more
Jul 20, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
a very interesting diary-style story (sort of a mystery) that taught me a lot about orthodox and reformed Judaism (and rich vs. poor Jews) in the early 1900's. Takes place in the Pacific Northwest where I live so that added interest for me.
Aside from the (likely well researched, I couldn't tell) depictions of life in this time, place and community, I really enjoyed those moments when the modern-day protagonist realizes the writer of the diary romanticized and cleaned-up the depiction of
Jan 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
5 stars! The primary settings for this novel.are Seattle and Ketchican, set both in the late 1800's and the present. Bones and an accompanying diary are discovered in Underground Seattle. We read the diary ofnanyoung Eastern. European as she makes her way through the many adjustmments to the New World and as she ttiesnto.solve the mystery of the killer of the skeletal woman and why. She also matures and learns.much about herself during this time. Fast reading.

Jean Roscoe
Nov 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Great read! Set in 1965 Seattle, the story goes back and forth in time to early 1900 after a bag of bones is found in Underground Seattle. A Yiddish dairy is also found that needs to be translated that may lead to a solution to a murder mystery. I loved the Seattle history and the way we discover the lives of Two women from different times are connected.
Erica Cooper
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
One of the best selections of my book club that I've read in a while. Fascinating snapshots of Seattle's past, and the author did an excellent job of weaving the story not only back and forth between two time periods, but added in the Jewish culture in several different regions of the US (and again, in time)
Jul 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
An immigrant's journey to America and across it lined up against a recent widow's experiences. Rachel is tasked with translating a diary found next to a female's bones buried in Seattle. It seemed to end abruptly though - like the denouement was somewhat disappointing.
"The Bones and the Book" is a bit simple in writing style but the story line and the characters are quite compelling, especially for those who are interested in Seattle at the turn of the previous century, Judaism, and the American female immigrant experience.
Oct 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished
I loved reading this book. The characters personalities are beautifully depicted and I really got into their lives. Would definitely recommend this novel to all my friends. Interesting information on the Seattle Jewish Community back in the 1800's as compared to today.
Feb 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
It was just good enough to finish - I wanted to see what happened, though I can't say I really CARED that much....
An engaging and unpredictable plot that explores the Jewish immigrant experience and culture, Seattle history and what we all have to learn from the past.
Oct 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Wrap together Jewish cultural history with the late 1800's Seattle. Throw in a smart women of 1965. Entertaining and educational to boot. What's not to like?!
Marie Kuhnhenn
Aug 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very good story about the Jewish community in Seattle in the 60's. Well written. I think I read it too fast. May have to go back and read again. Will definitely check out her others.
Nov 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Julie by: Seattle Times
I really wanted this book to grab me more than it did....
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Joan Huston
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Nov 18, 2012
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Aug 27, 2012
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Aug 29, 2012
Alan Deehr
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Sep 01, 2014
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Mar 27, 2014
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