“A masterpiece” about faith, race, and morality at a medieval turning point, from the National Jewish Book Award winner and “Israeli Faulkner” (The New York Times).
It’s edging toward the end of the year 999 when Ben Attar, a Moroccan Jewish merchant from Tangiers, takes two wives—an act of bigamy that results in the moral objections of his nephew and business partner, Raphael Abulafia, and the dissolution of their once profitable enterprise of importing treasures from the Atlas Mountains. Abulafia’s repudiation triggers a potentially perilous move by Attar to set things right—by setting sail for medieval Paris to challenge his nephew, and his nephew’s own pious wife, face to face.
Accompanied by a Spanish rabbi, a Muslim trader, a timid young slave, a crew of Arab sailors, and his two veiled wives, Attar will soon find himself in an even more dangerous battle—with the Christian zealots who fear that Jews and others they see as immoral infidels will impede the coming of Jesus at the dawn of a new millennium.
From the author of A Woman in Jerusalem, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, this is an insightful portrait of a unique moment in history as well as the timeless issues that still trouble us today.
“The end of the first millennium comes to represent only one of many breaches—between north and south, Christians and Jews, Jews and Muslims, Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews, men and women—across which A. B. Yehoshua's extraordinary novel delivers us.” —The New York Times