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In the Image

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Overview

A young woman's coming of age, a romantic love story, and a spiritual journey—each infused with the lessons of history.In the Image is an extraordinary first novel illuminated by spiritual exploration, one that remembers "a language, a literature, a held hand, an entire world lived and breathed in the image of God."
Bill Landsmann, an elderly Jewish refugee in a New Jersey suburb with a passion for travel, is obsessed with building his slide collection of images from the Bible ...
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In the Image: A Novel

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Overview

A young woman's coming of age, a romantic love story, and a spiritual journey—each infused with the lessons of history.In the Image is an extraordinary first novel illuminated by spiritual exploration, one that remembers "a language, a literature, a held hand, an entire world lived and breathed in the image of God."
Bill Landsmann, an elderly Jewish refugee in a New Jersey suburb with a passion for travel, is obsessed with building his slide collection of images from the Bible that he finds scattered throughout the world. The novel begins when he crosses paths with his granddaughter's friend, Leora, and continues by moving forward through her life and backward through his, revealing the unexpected links between his family's past and her family's future.
Not just a first novel but a cultural event—a wedding of secular and religious forms of literature—In the Image neither lives in the past nor seeks to escape it, but rather assimilates it, in the best sense of the word, honoring what is lost and finding, among the lost things, the treasures that can renew the present. Reading group guide included.
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Editorial Reviews

Rabbi David Wolpe
“A gripping story told with learning and passion. It does not just use Jewish sources, it breathes them, and breathes into them the breath of life.”
Jay Parini
“It is a novel that seems flooded with godly light. —Jay Parini, author of The Apprentice Lover”
Melvin Jules Bukiet
“[I]t may be the most ambitious and accomplished first novel I have ever read.”
Andrew Furman
“I left the novel spellbound by the breadth of Horn's imagination and the generosity of her vision.”
Thane Rosenbaum
“A tender and touching story of vanished worlds and recovered lives.”
Richard Snow - American Heritage
“[T]old with moral passion, vigor, humor, and an unflagging fascination with the coincidences, miseries, grotesqueries, and triumphs of life.”
Christian Science Monitor
“A work of raw genius....With its enormous emotional range, its whirlwind of Hebrew legend, Yiddish folklore, modern tragedy, and tender romance, this is a book to press into other people's hands and pester them to finish so you can talk about it together.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“Stunning and absorbing....Mesmerizingly blends religious and family history with its protagonist's coming-of-age story.”
David Gelernter - Commentary
“Not merely a striking success as a whole but a technical tour de force.”
Hadassah Magazine
“A stunning example of how to thread the warp of Jewish history into the woof of contemporary American Jewish life.”
Jewish Week
“An ebullient and vibrant new voice.”
Jewish Woman Magazine
“Horn creates small worlds, beautifully detailed and textured, that ultimately fit together.”
PaknTreger Magazine
“Riveting—compulsive reading, authoritative from the first sentence. A fine book from a powerful new imagination.”
The Boston Globe
“[An] unsettling, otherworldly novel.”
The Jerusalem Post
“Incredibly poignant ... with audacious appropriation of lines and themes from Jewish texts.... [Horn is] a writer with great self-confidence.”
The New Orleans Times-Picayune
“Impressive...remarkable...All of the characters struggle for those gemlike qualities of passion, brilliance, clarity, fire.”
Rabbi - David Wolpe
“A gripping story told with learning and passion. It does not just use Jewish sources, it breathes them, and breathes into them the breath of life.”
American Heritage - Richard Snow
“[T]old with moral passion, vigor, humor, and an unflagging fascination with the coincidences, miseries, grotesqueries, and triumphs of life.”
Commentary - David Gelernter
“Not merely a striking success as a whole but a technical tour de force.”
David Wolpe
A gripping story told with learning and passion. It does not just use Jewish sources, it breathes them, and breathes into them the breath of life.
Jay Parini
This is a lovely book that will give pleasure to many readers, and it signals the beginning of an interesting career.
Melvin Jules Bukiet
[I]t may be the most ambitious and accomplished first novel I have ever read.
Andrew Furman
I left the novel spellbound by the breadth of Horn's imagination and the generosity of her vision.
Thane Rosenbaum
A tender and touching story of vanished worlds and recovered lives.
American Heritage
[T]old with moral passion, vigor, humor, and an unflagging fascination with the coincidences, miseries, grotesqueries, and triumphs of life.
Publishers Weekly
In an enchanting, introspective and emotionally charged debut, Horn travels back and forth through time and space offering snapshots of the intertwining lives of Vienna native William Landsmann and his late granddaughter's best friend, Leora. Following the hit-and-run accident that killed his granddaughter Naomi in the suburbs of New Jersey, the depressed Landsmann tries to forge a friendship with high school student Leora by showing her slides from his travels, image after endless image. As Leora matures and slowly heals from the loss, she meets and falls in love with Jason, a college jock who has his heart set on caring for the elderly until he undergoes a religious transformation. Things end badly with Jason, but a few years later, Leora meets introspective Jake, at a lecture on Spinoza in Amsterdam. Jake, to Leora's fascination, "could have been born in any era, in any place in the world, and would probably have turned out more or less the same." Tossed into the mix are flashbacks from Landsmann's childhood and stories of his grandmother Leah, who flings her father's tefillin into New York Harbor at the tragic end of a love affair. Horn examines the religious and secular choices of each character, questioning the true nature of Judaism and of faith in general without being preachy or overly judgmental. An occasional stiffness in the narration is overcome by the warmth of her appreciation of Jewish culture and heritage, and she makes eloquent use of recurring motifs-modeling clay, photographs, miniature dollhouses and deep sea diving among them-as she captures life in early 20th-century Europe and contemporary New York. Agent, Gary Morris. (Sept.) Forecast: Horn's first claim to fame was an article she wrote for Hadassah at the age of 15, which was nominated for a National Magazine Award. The core readership of her novel may well include some of her original readers-she is making appearances at Jewish book fairs as well as embarking on a seven-city author tour.
Library Journal
Horn, a journalist and a scholar, debuts with a story that is partly about the Jewish immigrant experience and partly about people seeking love, commitment, and fulfillment, at times within a religious and cultural context. The book opens with the sudden death of a teenage girl, which brings together for a short time the girl's grandparents, Bill and Anna Landesmann, and her best friend, Leora. These lives eventually diverge, with passages alternating between the grandfather's European beginnings and Leora's quest for meaning as a young adult. Horn effectively draws the reader into the losses and desperation felt by these American Jewish immigrants while also portraying them as strong and hopeful people who believe that here is better than there. With Leora in particular, the author has created a woman of depth and complexity whose emotions and reactions often resonate with accuracy. Even those characters embodying the worst of human nature are compelling. Strongly recommended for larger fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/02.]-Maureen Neville, Trenton P.L., NJ Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A somewhat slack debut about a young woman who comes to terms with death, love, and history. Leora is a nice Jewish girl from no place special (well, New Jersey), and her childhood is typical of any middle-class suburban girl's in its events and aspirations. Perhaps it's this very ordinariness that drives her interest in her religion; or perhaps it's the fact that her best friend Naomi died while they were both sophomores in high school. Leora writes for the school paper and goes off to college, where she is exposed for the first time to people from very different places and backgrounds than hers. She falls in love with Jason, a nonobservant Jew who likes to work with the elderly. She also becomes friends, sort of, with Bill Landsmann, who was Naomi's grandfather. Bill grew up in Vienna and fled the Nazis as a young man-first to Amsterdam, then New York. Naomi's great-great-grandmother Leah, on the other hand, grew up near Kiev and settled in New York around the turn of the century. When Leora finishes college, she moves to Manhattan, takes an apartment on the Upper West Side, and finds work as a magazine reporter. She has long since broken up with Jason but runs into him one day in the Matzoh aisle at Costco and learns that he married an Orthodox Jew and now works in his father-in-law's diamond business. This is something of a shock for Leora, but later, at a Spinoza conference in Amsterdam, she meets Jake, a history professor from Columbia. Jake tracks Leora down once he's back in Manhattan and asks her out. Eventually, he buys her a diamond-from none other than Jason. Earnest but immature: a story that's thoroughly well-intended but that generates too little drive or drama to rise tothe next level.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393325263
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/19/2003
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 823,854
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Dara Horn
Dara Horn, the author of the novels All Other Nights, The World to Come, and In the Image, is one of Granta’s "Best Young American Novelists" and the winner of two National Jewish Book Awards. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and four children.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Tourists 13
Chapter 2 In the Valley of Discarded Names 35
Chapter 3 Barbarians at the Gates 67
Chapter 4 The Missing Link 99
Chapter 5 Go Bang Your Head Against the Wall 131
Chapter 6 A Long and Dreamless Night 161
Chapter 7 The Same Long and Dreamless Night, Elsewhere 178
Chapter 8 The Better Deal 197
Chapter 9 Floodgates 221
Chapter 10 The Book of Hurricane Job 254
Chapter 11 A Tourist in the Lost City 268
Landsmann Family Tree 280
Acknowledgments 283
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2004

    Word Images Brought to Life

    In The Image is one of those books that evolves, through the characters' coming of age, coming to peace and acceptance, and coming towards spiritual identity. One young girl learns to accept the death of her best friend, through the slide images of the grandfather of that same friend, and she learns to overcome her fear of loss and allows herself to fall in love. The grandfather learns to accept his own life, which is built frame by frame, on his slides, through the images he has photographed during his travels. He has to learn to leave the past behind, his childhood and abusive father. For him the images represent life, and he has to learn to let go in order to accept his life challenges and move forward and find spiritual identity and peace. The symbolism and undertones in this novel leave one in awe, the images clearly defined in the author's words. Age is a state of mind, a number we define ourselves with, but one can be 70 and still be coming of age. This book touches on coming of age, for all age groups.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2003

    This book is illuminated

    Dara Horn's book is one of the most thoughtful books about faith that I have read in a long, long time. We read this in my book group and we had a lot to talk about because this novel covers a lot of ground. It tells two stories. One is set in present day New York City and Europe where a young girl falls in love while the follows an older man, her friend's grandfather, back through the century in his life. The author miraculously intertwines the two stories in a way that left me breathless. Everything is Illuminated was a book that got more attention, but this is the one that will last.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2010

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