Customer Reviews for

Hester Among the Ruins

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2004

    Inside and Out of the Ruins

    Kirshenbaum's writing is filled with insight and depth, and she approaches love, and what defines it, be it lust, intimacy, truth, betrayal, forgiveness, imagination, denial and historical legacy. All of the above attributes are explored in this beautiful and heartfelt novel. Kirshenbaum brings us two lovers, Peter Falk, a German Professor (who has some clouded-over concepts and ideals, and can not even bring himself to say the word 'Jew') and Hester Rosenfeld, an author (Jewish, but not practicing, also with clouded-over concepts and ideals, and in a state of constant denial, who can not bring herself to forgive her parents for the ideals she feels they forced on her). Each one brings their history, their past and their truth, into their present, and their relationship. What is truth for one person isn't necessarily so for another. For me, the book was a well written book, with wonderful word images, and with insight into human behavior, human acceptance, and also lack of acceptance in an intimate relationship. It makes the reader wonder about historical legacy, and what is acceptable in relationships when two people come from opposite ends of the history chain. I highly recommend this book to those who question history, acceptance and what defines truth and boundaries, in relationships.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2003

    love and historical impact

    Hester Among the Ruins is both very funny and very complex. One of my favorite features of this book is love presented as a sort of Jose Ortega y Gasset concept. 'I and my circumstances + he and his circumstances' and all the history before it. In other words, can we really love a person and have a relationship with the person without accepting his/her individual culture and history? And can we love them without blaming them for the recent past, history, and their circumstances in general? With a German lover, clearly, this becomes tricky, especially if you're Jewish. Moreover, it ultimately begs the question of what exactly constitutes a betrayal between lovers,and does the nature of love require the acceptance of betrayal.

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