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In a prelude to her problematic novel, David describes how important the prophet Elijah was for the Bene Israel Jews of India, and introduces Elijah as the novel's fun-loving protagonist. Unfortunately, both Elijah and the merriment disappear after the first chapter. After rioting in Ahmedabad in 2002, a small community of Jews whose ancestors had lived peacefully in India move into an apartment building to avoid the crossfire. Despite the intriguing setting and character sketches rich with possibility, the result is unpolished and unsatisfying. Vignettes are shaped around weighty themes of religion, love, infertility, death and prophesy, but the actors never become more than puppets manipulated with an obvious hand, undermining the sometimes powerful imagery and infrequently addressed topics-such as living as a secret Jew in Pakistan. David, who grew up in Ahmedabad and has written previously about the Bene Israeli, knows her subject well, but has not done it justice. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.