A Blessing on the Moon by Joseph Skibell

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Joseph Skibell’s magical tale about the Holocaust—a fable inspired by fact—received unanimous nationwide acclaim when first published in 1997.

At the center of A Blessing on the Moon is Chaim Skibelski. Death is merely the beginning of Chaim’s troubles. In the opening pages, he is shot along with the other Jews of his small Polish village. But instead of resting peacefully in the World to Come, Chaim, for reasons unclear to him, is left to wander the earth, accompanied by his rabbi, who has taken the form of a talking crow. Chaim’s afterlife journey is filled with extraordinary encounters whose consequences are far greater than he realizes.

Not since art Spiegelman’s Maus has a work so powerfully evoked one of the darkest moments of the twentieth century with such daring originality.

About Joseph Skibell

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Joseph Skibell is the author of two previous novels, A Blessing on the Moon and The English Disease. He has received a Halls Fiction Fellowship, a Michener Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, among other awards. He teaches at Emory University and is the director of the Richard Ellmann Lectures in Modern Literature.
Published April 1, 1999 by Berkley Trade. 272 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, War, Horror. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Blessing on the Moon

Kirkus Reviews

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This is, on balance, a haunting novel, intensely imagined, and--if less successfully plotted and placed--redeemed by Skibell's gifts for vivid imagery (sleeping ``bodies lie twisted, like shipwrecks, in the sheets, as though a great sea had tossed them there'') and robust gallows humor (``If ther...

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Publishers Weekly

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Eventually, the rebbe opens the mass grave and the dead Jews--their mutilated, decomposing bodies filled with maggots and corroded by lime (the stark realism of their stench coexists with the surreal fantasy of the scene)--follow Chaim and the rebbe through the forest.

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AV Club

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In the first paragraph of A Blessing On The Moon, the Jewish residents of a Polish village are rounded up and shot, their bodies thrown into a shallow pit.

Mar 29 2002 | Read Full Review of A Blessing on the Moon

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