The Lawgiver by Herman Wouk
A Novel

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Synopsis

For more than fifty years, legendary author Herman Wouk has dreamed of writing a novel about the life of Moses. Finally, at age ninety-seven, he has found an ingeniously witty way to tell the tale in The Lawgiver, a romantic and suspenseful epistolary novel about a group of people trying to make a movie about Moses in the present day. The story emerges from letters, memos, e-mails, journals, news articles, recorded talk, Skype transcripts, and text messages.

At the center of The Lawgiver is Margo Solovei, a brilliant young writer-director who has rejected her rabbinical father’s strict Jewish upbringing to pursue a career in the arts. When an Australian multibillionaire promises to finance a movie about Moses if the script meets certain standards, Margo does everything she can to land the job, including a reunion with her estranged first love, an influential lawyer with whom she still has unfinished business.

Two other key characters in the novel are Herman Wouk himself and his wife of more than sixty years, Betty Sarah, who, almost against their will, find themselves entangled in the Moses movie when the Australian billionaire insists on Wouk’s stamp of approval.

As Wouk and his characters contend with Moses and marriage, and the force of tradition, rebellion, and reunion, The Lawgiver reflects the wisdom of a lifetime. Inspired by the great nineteenth-century novelists, one of America’s most beloved twentieth-century authors has now written a remarkable twenty-first-century work of fiction.
 

About Herman Wouk

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Herman Wouk is the author of such classics as The Caine Mutiny (1951), Marjorie Morningstar (1955), Youngblood Hawke (1961), Don’t Stop the Carnival (1965), The Winds of War (1971), War and Remembrance (1978), and Inside, Outside (1985). His later works include The Hope (1993), The Glory (1994), and A Hole in Texas (2004). Among Mr. Wouk’s laurels are the 1952 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Caine Mutiny; the cover of Time magazine for Marjorie Morningstar, the bestselling novel of that year; and the cultural phenomenon of The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, which he wrote over a thirteen-year period and which went on to become two of the most popular novels and TV miniseries events of the 1970s and 1980s. In 1998, he received the Guardian of Zion Award for support of Israel. In 2008, Mr. Wouk was honored with the first Library of Congress Fiction Award, to be known as the Herman Wouk Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Writing of Fiction. He lives in Palm Springs, California.
 
Published November 13, 2012 by Simon & Schuster. 257 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Lawgiver

Kirkus Reviews

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In his 2000 memoir, The Will to Live On, novelist Wouk (A Hole in Texas, 2004, etc.) wrote of his decades-long struggle to write The Lawgiver, which he intended to be a doorstopper about the life of Moses.

Sep 16 2012 | Read Full Review of The Lawgiver: A Novel

The New York Times

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Herman Wouk, author of 1950s blockbusters like “The Caine Mutiny” and “Marjorie Morningstar,” returns with a novel made of text messages, e-mails and Skype transcripts.

Nov 12 2012 | Read Full Review of The Lawgiver: A Novel

The New York Times

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Herman Wouk, author of 1950s blockbusters like “The Caine Mutiny” and “Marjorie Morningstar,” returns with a novel made of text messages, e-mails and Skype transcripts.

Nov 12 2012 | Read Full Review of The Lawgiver: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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The answers will not necessarily surprise, but getting to them is a fun ride, and though the epilogue, an address from Wouk, has the feel of a vanity project, in creating a contemporary version of Marjorie Morningstar, Wouk the author has made something old, and something very old, new again.

Sep 24 2012 | Read Full Review of The Lawgiver: A Novel

NPR

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Critic Alan Cheuse reviews the latest work from nonagenarian Herman Wouk called The Lawgiver.

Nov 14 2012 | Read Full Review of The Lawgiver: A Novel

Examiner

“The Lawgiver” (Simon & Schuster) by Herman Wouk, author of such classics as “The Caine Mutiny” (1951), “Marjorie Morningstar” (1955), “Youngblood Hawke” (1961), “Don’t Stop the Carnival” (1965), “The Winds of War” (1971), “War and Remembrance” (1978), and “Inside, Outside” (1985), rates a modest...

Nov 16 2012 | Read Full Review of The Lawgiver: A Novel

Book Reporter

“Herman Wouk --- is he still alive?” -- From an email in response to the author’s query about developing a screenplay based on the life of Moses.

Nov 16 2012 | Read Full Review of The Lawgiver: A Novel

The Washington Times

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When Herman Wouk was 94 years old in 2009, he decided to "have a go at another novel, if only to pass the time" while his meditation on faith and science, "The Language God Talks," was in the publication process. For years, he had wanted to write a novel about Moses, but as he started to write, "...

Jan 14 2013 | Read Full Review of The Lawgiver: A Novel

The Telegraph

As he says in his epilogue, his idea was to write a novel about the impossibility of writing a novel about Moses.

Nov 27 2012 | Read Full Review of The Lawgiver: A Novel

Washington Independent Review of Books

But Wouk has written extensively about his Jewish faith and has been laboring away for many years to find a way to write a novel about Moses, who he considers the seminal figure in the Bible.

| Read Full Review of The Lawgiver: A Novel

The Columbus Dispatch

It takes a while to sort through the vast cast of characters that Wouk throws into the mix: the Australian innocent screen-tested for Moses, his low-life agent, a scheming Texan, the platonic friend of Josh who becomes Margo’s email pal, the catty grade-school companion who works her way into Mar...

Dec 09 2012 | Read Full Review of The Lawgiver: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

Bookmarks has not yet published a review of this book.

Nov 05 2012 | Read Full Review of The Lawgiver: A Novel

Moment

The Lawgiver, a new novel by the 97-year-old, Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Herman Wouk, is about a new novel that fails to get written by a 97-year-old, Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist named Herman Wouk.

Nov 14 2012 | Read Full Review of The Lawgiver: A Novel

Moment

The Lawgiver, a new novel by the 97-year-old, Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Herman Wouk, is about a new novel that fails to get written by a 97-year-old, Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist named Herman Wouk.

Nov 01 2012 | Read Full Review of The Lawgiver: A Novel

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