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"The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon" by Richard Zimler

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"The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon" deals with the horrific 1506 pogrom in that city, and it deals with it at some length. The detail and the lengthy, lengthy recounting of it wore me down. The narrative follows Master Abraham, who is murdered, and his nephew Berekiah, who works assiduously at finding his uncle's killer. Amid all the death, furtiveness, and horror, who can tell where to look?
Unfortunately, I also had trouble keeping the suspects straight. The book contains some philosophical musings about the Kabbal, God, persecution, and the coming secular world. I understand praise for this book - certain scenes are vivid (although for the most part descriptions are sketchy and inadequate) and powerful, and a sense of injustice is the lifeblood coursing though this novel. I found it weighty and wearing - so much so that I considered putting it down halfway through.
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