Stephanie Feldman

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The Angel of Losses: A Novel

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Q&A | Behind the Book | Discussion Guide (PDF) | Press Kit (PDF)

The Tiger’s Wife meets A History of Love in this inventive, lushly imagined debut novel that explores the intersections of family secrets, Jewish myths, the legacy of war and history, and the bonds between sisters. (Ecco/HarperCollins, July 2014.)

When Eli Burke dies, he leaves behind a mysterious notebook full of stories about a miracle worker named the White Rebbe and the enigmatic Angel of Losses, guardian of the lost letter of the alphabet that completes the secret name of God.

Years later, Eli’s granddaughter Marjorie stumbles upon his notebook and everything she thought she knew about her grandfather—and her family—comes undone. To learn the truth about Eli’s origins and unlock the secrets he kept, she embarks on an odyssey that takes her deep into the past, from the medieval Holy Land to eighteenth-century Venice and Nazi-occupied Lithuania. What she finds leads her back to present-day New York City and her estranged sister, Holly, whom she must save from the consequences of Eli’s past. 

Interweaving history, theology, and both real and imagined Jewish folktales, The Angel of Losses is a family story of what lasts, and of what we can—and cannot—escape.

Praise

A Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection (fall 2014)

"Stephanie Feldman is one of the smartest and most original young writers at work today.  Here she re-imagines the eternally exiled Wandering Jew as a wonderworker, a frightened boy in the Vilna ghetto, a feminist scholar in Coney Island. With a deft understanding of the irreducibility of human relationships, Stephanie leads us through love and loss and back to love again. Watch out for her. She is here to stay." —Sheri Holman, author of Witches on the Road Tonight and The Dress Lodger

"Lucid, tender and masterfully portrayed, The Angel of Losses is an intergenerational story of perseverance and love in a changing world. Rich with Jewish lore and history, there is magic at play here in more than one sense. A must-read.” —G. Willow Wilson, author of Alif the Unseen

"Stephanie Feldman writes with tremendous warmth, tenderness and insight, and The Angel of Losses is a smart and beautiful novel that is all at once a literary thriller, a multigenerational family saga and a stunning exploration of Jewish mysticism. I loved this book.” –Molly Antopol, National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Honoree and author of The UnAmericans: Stories

"This impressive debut from Feldman is a page-turner that celebrates sisterly love." —Publishers Weekly

"This imaginative first novel leads you on a journey of fantastic tales, stormy family ties and a tragic discovery of redemption that will break your heart." —The Washington Post

[A] breathtakingly accomplished debut … a story of magic and bold imagining… .Every once in a while a book comes along that reminds us that even though a horror was visited upon a particular people, in a particular place and at particular moment in history, the story told is really about all of us, everywhere and for all time. It takes an extraordinary writer like Stephanie Feldman to bring that story to life.” —NPR

"Stephanie Feldman’s debut novel, The Angel of Losses, is haunting. Even more gripping than the real and imagined folktales that Feldman weaves into the book, however, is her exploration of sisterly rifts and bonds and family secrets shrouded by time.” —Philadelphia Inquirer

“Stephanie Feldman’s first novel is a compelling mix of fable, history and mystery, but at the center, it is a very human story about how families accept one another’s choices while forgiving one another’s mistakes. The Angel of Losses is an ambitious work by a brilliant new author.”—Bookpage

Figures from Jewish mysticism and mythology, a Russian grandfather’s legacy and the fate of a newborn child entwine in [this] inventive debut.  With its wheeling stars, magical rabbi, disgraced angels, black dogs and European hinterland, Feldman’s novel …has the flavor of Chagall’s visionary art….[and] passionate storytelling and powerful narrative skills.” Kirkus Reviews

"In her spellbinding debut novel, Stephanie Feldman tells an epic tale of mystery, discovery, and familial love… .[T]he book as a whole hums with the mixture of whimsy and gravitas that only mythology can provide… .Feldman’s debut novel is moving, mature, and deeply original." —Ploughshares

"Feldman’s prose is intelligent, engaging, and at times figurative… .The 21st century primary narrative and the White Rebbe stories each have their own appropriate narrative styles, and Feldman’s command of both demonstrates a versatile virtuosity impressive for a debut work."—New York Journal of Books

This book was amazing. The protagonist, a grad student in literature, uncovers a story scribbled down by her grandfather, and everything starts to unravel. Jewish folklore. Family secrets. Hidden identities. Hidden notebooks. Bitter estrangements. The past–pasts–roaring up to meet the present… It’s beautifully constructed and just plain beautiful. Mark your calendars now, people. Mark them now. ” —BOOKRIOT

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman’s debut novel….vivid, imaginative." —Booklist

"Feldman’s debut novel is an unusual combination of literary thriller, family drama, and Jewish mysticism … Fans of Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian or the works of Lev Grossman will find something here in a similar vein, but with a little quieter pacing and a little more spirituality.” —Library Journal

"Literary and intelligent."Jewish Sound

Named as one of the “Essential Books Coming in 2014” by io9