Elaine Campbell's Reviews > I am Forbidden

I am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits
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's review
Aug 26, 2012

it was amazing
Read on August 26, 2012

This powerful story offers a unique vision inside the homes of multi-generational Hasidic families that live through the horrors of war and the difficulties of peace in many countries.

It is written with great skill, taste, proportion, subtle poetic prose and deep knowledge of its subject as the author, Anouk Markovits, was raised in France in a Satmar house. She left her home at the age of 19 when a marriage was arranged for her. She holds three degrees, in three different subjects from three U.S. universities. But with this book she has come into her own as a major modern author.

The story follows the lives of two sisters; one adopted by a Rabbi in Transylvania when her parents are killed by the Nazis, and the other the Rabbi's natural daughter, Atara. It is ironic that the sister who decides to strictly adhere to the life of Hasidic faith is the adopted child. Atara is the one that flees.

The story is evocatively told and I read it at one reading (something I seldom do) because it was so fascinating and the excellency of the writing was so admirable.

I gained such an insight as well into a religion I knew very little about. At heart it is a story of the conflict between divine law (as it is perceived) and immediate love (as it is experienced).

This is Dr. Markovits's first book written in English. There is one that precedes it, Pur Coton, written in French. Hopefully, an English translation will be forthcoming.
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