The Angel of Forgetfulness by Steve Stern

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Synopsis

When Steve Stern appeared on the literary scene The New York Times Book Review hailed him as "a prodigiously talented writer who arrives unheralded like one of the apparitions in his own stories." In his new novel, The Angel of Forgetfulness, he interweaves three stories about characters who take flight from their ordinary lives and are plunged into extraordinary circumstances. At the center of it all is an unfinished manuscript—an adventure about a fallen angel named Mocky and his half-mortal son Nachman, who both take up residence on the Lower East Side of New York circa 1900. Their story has been written by Nathan Hart, a timid proofreader for The Jewish Daily Forward, who woos a young woman named Keni with his exotic tale. Seduced by the power of his own imagination, Nathan is drawn deliriously away from Keni into the world of his story, the Jewish underworld of arsonists, horse poisoners, and thieves. More than half a century later, Keni, on her deathbed, gives Nathan’s now-tattered manuscript to her young nephew, Saul, with the injunction that Saul complete the story himself. Saul’s evasion of the task prompts a journey into the crucible of the sixties, one fueled by sex, drugs, and the dust of a golem in the attic of a medieval synagogue in Prague.

Dexterously juggling the narratives of Saul, Nathan, Mocky, and Nachman until they all merge in the novel’s satisfying close, Stern has created a magical tour de force of the storyteller’s art, one that celebrates the turbulent romance between past and present, art and obsession.

 

About Steve Stern

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Published March 3, 2005 by Viking. 416 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Romance. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Angel of Forgetfulness

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about an angel that comes to earth and has by a human girl a child.” As Keni dies, she gives the manuscript to Saul, urging him to finish the story.

Mar 07 2005 | Read Full Review of The Angel of Forgetfulness

The New York Times

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''The Angel of Forgetfulness'' is written in spicy, incantatory prose, a hybrid of Yiddishisms and Southern Gothic, abounding in words like ''maculate,'' ''mephitic'' and ''oysbrechn.'' The more visceral Stern's subject, the fancier his writing: A pig escaping the slaughterer is described as scra...

Mar 20 2005 | Read Full Review of The Angel of Forgetfulness

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