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The Book of Zev is all about questions, chances, and changes. We must constantly ponder what we are and what we will be, or should be. We have lost chances, chances that come that we never notice; chances we take, and the changes we must face as a result of all of them. Life grinds us through many paths, some unkind, others we love. In The Book of Zev, you can easily relate to the ones in the lives of Sarah and Zev. You could also say the book is also about religion, what man makes of gods and beliefs, how religion makes us stronger or weaker, and how perhaps there is a spark of righteousness even in those of us who do not worship or who doubt their beliefs. It’s also a very clever political thriller with well-crafted, real characters.
Sarah is a Jewish kosher chef, struggling with disappointments and her questions about religion. She is feeling lost because of her divorce and her past choices, and deals with the issues with yoga and alcohol. There is another troubled soul, Zev, also a Jew, who is not sure where he belongs in life and the Jewish community; and what his purpose in life truly might be. But when he meets Sarah, he also finds a promise of stability for him. Both Sarah and Zev find some answers and comfort in Gwydion, their guide, and it is through this man they find common ground. There will be challenges, and a purpose for both.
There is the change.
Sarah meets a powerful man from her past, a dangerous man she once was, and still is, in love with, so things get complicated because their relationship is something that is frowned upon by their respective societies. The relationship becomes an opportunity to stop the man from doing something monstrous and wrong. Ultimately, confused but brave, Sarah and the suffering Zev have to decide if they will stand together against what is inhuman, even if it means betraying trust, love, and risking their lives. The lost souls find that despite the open questions and lost chances, they can make a real change in life still.
The characters are the meat of the story. They are very real, and one can easily relate to their lives. The personalities have flaws, severe flaws, and a genuine wish to be better, almost to be a child again, when everything was simpler. The story starts slowly, and that’s ok, because it is building the personalities, letting us inch into their lives making us care for them, and fear for the danger they will face.
The story flowed well. It is soft and at first purposefully sneaks forward, and then grows powerful and meaningful, right when it should. It’s a very good political thriller with very real, troubled people you will root for. For example, how could you not like Zev, who, upon hearing Sarah’s voice,
thinks that is how Moses must have felt when the Red Sea parted?
About the author
Marilyn Horowitz is an award-winning New York University professor, author, producer, and Manhattan-based writing coach, who works with successful novelists, produced screenwriters, and award-winning filmmakers.
Alaric Longward is a dad, a husband and an aspiring writer who creates fiction, fantasy adventure and drama. You can find more about him and his books at his official pages and his Amazon author page.