Friday, September 10, 2021

The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish

The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish
The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This novel is complex and breathtaking. It's simply a masterpiece.

It spans two eras, the story interwoven between modern scholars in London researching a peer of sorts who centuries earlier conducted her own forbidden scholarship. The story and the words Rachel Kadish so carefully chose to tell it is beautiful and engrossing.

I can't imagine the amount of work it would take to craft this novel, never mind the writing skills! It required a deep dive into the world of London in the 1660s, as well as the lives of Portuguese Jews who fled The Inquisition to Amsterdam, some of them eventually landing in London. Then a very deep dive into scholarship surrounding both history and philosophy. 

The tale is tightly bound to a young woman's striving to follow her own desire, the desire to learn and think and live the life she chooses.

There are lovely lines throughout that I think I'll return to now and then, just to hold in my mind their beauty. Two of my favorites are:
"Our life is a walk in the night, we know not how great the distance to the dawn that awaits us. And the path is strewn with stumbling blocks and our bodies are grown tyrannous with weeping yet we lift our feet. We lift our feet."

"Do not consider then, however learned you are, that your knowledge is complete. For learning is the river of G-d and we drink of it throughout our lives."
A book to be savored, I hope others enjoy it as much as I did.

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