Shylock's Daughter by Mirjam Pressler

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As the beautiful daughter of a wealthy moneylender, Jessica leads a relatively privileged life in the Jewish Ghetto. But during her rare walks through the main streets of Venice, she has caught glimpses of the colorful, exciting world outside. Then, by chance she meets a handsome aristocrat named Lorenzo who has, it seems, everything that Jessica longs for, and who promises to make her his wife. There is one painful condition, however: She must convert to Christianity. Will Jessica follow her desires, even if it means leaving behind everyone she loves, and abandoning her religion? Will her father, Shylock, survive this betrayal?

Mirjam Pressler cleverly expands upon Shakespeare's play The Merchant of Venice, offering a richly complex portrait of life in sixteenth-century Venice. This fascinating historical novel has been beautifully translated by Brian Murdoch, whose afterword gives readers a meaningful perspective on the difficult relations between Christians and Jews during that period.

About Mirjam Pressler

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Pressler is a translator and biographer of Anne Frank Brian O. Murdoch is Emeritus Professor of German in the School of Languages, Cultures, and Religions at Stirling University, Scotland.
Published January 1, 2001 by Phyllis Fogelman Books. 256 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Young Adult, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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In this turgid elaboration of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, Pressler (Anne Frank: A Hidden Life, 2000, etc.) subordinates the story’s events both to a rich re-creation of the texture of life in the Venetian ghetto and to a series of overwrought reveries in which her unappealing cast members c...

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Publishers Weekly

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But despite the detailed historical background and the fresh examination of the characters, the story doesn't surmount the obstacles set by Shakespeare—Jessica's wholesale betrayal of her father and Shylock's murderous insistence on Antonio's flesh represent such extremes as to rupture Pressler's...

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