The Seventh Gate

Overview

By the author of the critically acclaimed international hits The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon and The Warsaw Anagrams, this novel proves Richard Zimler's mastery of the "riveting literary murder mystery" (Independent on Sunday). It's Berlin, 1932. Sophie is a smart and sexually precocious fourteen-year-old coming of age during Hitler's rise to power. Forced to lead a double life when her father and boyfriend become Nazi collaborators, she reserves her dreams of becoming an actress for her beloved elderly neighbor, ...

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The Seventh Gate

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Overview

By the author of the critically acclaimed international hits The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon and The Warsaw Anagrams, this novel proves Richard Zimler's mastery of the "riveting literary murder mystery" (Independent on Sunday). It's Berlin, 1932. Sophie is a smart and sexually precocious fourteen-year-old coming of age during Hitler's rise to power. Forced to lead a double life when her father and boyfriend become Nazi collaborators, she reserves her dreams of becoming an actress for her beloved elderly neighbor, Isaac Zarco, and his friends, most of whom are Jews working against the government in a secret group called the Ring. When a member is sent to Dachau, she realizes there must be a Nazi traitor in the group. But who? Through successive mysteries, reversals, and surprises —and a race against time —The Seventh Gate builds to a shattering end. In its chilling but sensuous evocation of the time and place, Richard Zimler's novel is a love story and a tale of ferocious heroism

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Editorial Reviews

Simon Sebag Montefiore

"A gripping, heartbreaking, and beautiful thriller . . . unforgettable, poetic, and original."
Richard Bernstein

"A moody, tightly constructed historical thriller that is both entertaining and instructive."
Alberto Manguel

"The Seventh Gate is not only a superb thriller but an intelligent and moving novel about the heartbreaking human condition."
—Simon Sebag Montefiore

"A gripping, heartbreaking, and beautiful thriller . . . unforgettable, poetic, and original."
—Richard Bernstein

"A moody, tightly constructed historical thriller that is both entertaining and instructive."
—Newsday

"Explosive and prophetic."
—San Francisco Chronicle

"Equal parts riveting, heartbreaking, inspiring, and intelligent."
—Alberto Manguel

"The Seventh Gate is not only a superb thriller but an intelligent and moving novel about the heartbreaking human condition."
—Booklist

"Mixing profound reflections on Jewish mysticism with scenes of elemental yet always tender sensuality, Zimler captures the Nazi era in the most human of terms, devoid of sentimentality but throbbing with life lived passionately in the midst of horror."
—Wall Street Journal

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Starred Booklist Review

"Mixing profound reflections on Jewish mysticism with scenes of elemental yet always tender sensuality, Zimler captures the Nazi era in the most human of terms, devoid of sentimentality but throbbing with life lived passionately in the midst of horror."
Newsday

"Explosive and prophetic."
San Francisco Chronicle

"Equal parts riveting, heartbreaking, inspiring, and intelligent."
Booklist
"Mixing profound reflections on Jewish mysticism with scenes of elemental yet always tender sensuality, Zimler captures the Nazi era in the most human of terms, devoid of sentimentality but throbbing with life lived passionately in the midst of horror."
Wall Street Journal

null
Kirkus Reviews
In early 1930s Berlin, with Nazism on the rise, self-possessed 14-year-old Sophie Riedesel joins her kindly Jewish neighbor, Mr. Zarco, in a secret resistance group known as the Ring. When the group's leader is murdered, Sophie dedicates herself to solving the crime, even as her father and boyfriend are signing up with the Nazis. Zimler, a seasoned American writer living in Portugal, combines sexy coming-of-age adventures with coming-of-Hitler terrors in this powerfully understated saga. A sheltered gentile girl who had never met anyone who disliked Jews until recently, Sophie now is exposed to the anti-Semitic spoutings of her father, a spineless Communist engineer who will try to beat her Jewish sympathies out of her. Generations ahead of her time, she is a self-aware girl whose sexual experimentation with her boyfriend, Tonio, is as much an expression of individuality as a pursuit of pleasure. In addition to Zarco, who teaches her from the kabbalah and generally wins her over to a life of religion, Sophie befriends an odd physical specimen named Vera, who suffers from gigantism. The book depicts the Nazis' brutal treatment of people with physical imperfections or the potential to pass them on to their children. Haunted by the loss of her tragically fated little brother, and now pregnant, Sophie eventually escapes to such distant places as Portugal (site of the massacre of Jews Zimler wrote about in The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon, 1998) and Turkey. The book telescopes forward to the present, where Sophie narrates its events to her nephew, who has always thought she was Jewish. In the end, she is the best kind of survivor, a thoughtful and likable one with lessons to share. Adult fiction that counts on readers' ability to draw meaning from cultural signposts such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Greta Garbo and The Magic Mountain. But its plucky heroine gives it young adult appeal as well.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781468308235
  • Publisher: Overlook TP
  • Publication date: 2/4/2014
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 986,269
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Zimler was born in New York and studied journalism at Stanford University. He has published eight novels over the last fifteen years, including the famous The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon. He has won numerous prizes for his work, and is a contributor to the Los Angeles Times Book Review. Visit zimler.com.

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