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The Book of Esther: A Novel
(Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read)

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Published:
Crown 2016
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Available from OverDrive
Description
What if an empire of Jewish warriors that really existed in the Middle Ages had never fallen—and was the only thing standing between Hitler and his conquest of Russia? 

Eastern Europe, August 1942. The Khazar kaganate, an isolated nation of Turkic warrior Jews, lies between the Pontus Euxinus (the Black Sea) and the Khazar Sea (the Caspian). It also happens to lie between a belligerent nation to the west that the Khazars call Germania—and a city the rest of the world calls Stalingrad.

After years of Jewish refugees streaming across the border from Europa, fleeing the war, Germania launches its siege of Khazaria. Only Esther, the daughter of the nation’s chief policy adviser, sees the ominous implications of Germania's disregard for Jewish lives. Only she realizes that this isn’t just another war but an existential threat. After witnessing the enemy warplanes’ first foray into sovereign Khazar territory, Esther knows she must fight for her country. But as the elder daughter in a traditional home, her urgent question is how.

Before daybreak one fateful morning, she embarks on a perilous journey across the open steppe. She seeks a fabled village of Kabbalists who may hold the key to her destiny: their rumored ability to change her into a man so that she may convince her entire nation to join in the fight for its very existence against an enemy like none Khazaria has ever faced before.

The Book of Esther
is a profound saga of war, technology, mysticism, power, and faith. This novel—simultaneously a steampunk Joan of Arc and a genre-bending tale of a counterfactual Jewish state by a writer who invents worlds “out of Calvino or Borges” (The New Yorker)—is a stunning achievement. Reminiscent of Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union and Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, The Book of Esther reaffirms Barton’s place as one of her generation’s most gifted storytellers.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
06/14/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781101904107
ASIN:
B015LZ04PE
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Emily Barton. (2016). The Book of Esther: A Novel. Crown.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Emily Barton. 2016. The Book of Esther: A Novel. Crown.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Emily Barton, The Book of Esther: A Novel. Crown, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Emily Barton. The Book of Esther: A Novel. Crown, 2016. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 18:34:47
Date Updated:
Dec 08, 2020 19:23:33
Last Metadata Check:
Jun 26, 2022 10:25:30
Last Metadata Change:
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      • bioText: Emily Barton is the author Brookland and The Testament of Yves Gundron, which were both selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year. She has received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation. Her essays, short stories, and reviews have appeared in StoryConjunctions, The Massachusetts Review, TabletThe Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times Book Review, among many other publications. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband and sons.
      • name: Emily Barton
imprint
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title
The Book of Esther
fullDescription
What if an empire of Jewish warriors that really existed in the Middle Ages had never fallen—and was the only thing standing between Hitler and his conquest of Russia? 

Eastern Europe, August 1942. The Khazar kaganate, an isolated nation of Turkic warrior Jews, lies between the Pontus Euxinus (the Black Sea) and the Khazar Sea (the Caspian). It also happens to lie between a belligerent nation to the west that the Khazars call Germania—and a city the rest of the world calls Stalingrad.

After years of Jewish refugees streaming across the border from Europa, fleeing the war, Germania launches its siege of Khazaria. Only Esther, the daughter of the nation’s chief policy adviser, sees the ominous implications of Germania's disregard for Jewish lives. Only she realizes that this isn’t just another war but an existential threat. After witnessing the enemy warplanes’ first foray into sovereign Khazar territory, Esther knows she must fight for her country. But as the elder daughter in a traditional home, her urgent question is how.

Before daybreak one fateful morning, she embarks on a perilous journey across the open steppe. She seeks a fabled village of Kabbalists who may hold the key to her destiny: their rumored ability to change her into a man so that she may convince her entire nation to join in the fight for its very existence against an enemy like none Khazaria has ever faced before.

The Book of Esther
is a profound saga of war, technology, mysticism, power, and faith. This novel—simultaneously a steampunk Joan of Arc and a genre-bending tale of a counterfactual Jewish state by a writer who invents worlds “out of Calvino or Borges” (The New Yorker)—is a stunning achievement. Reminiscent of Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union and Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, The Book of Esther reaffirms Barton’s place as one of her generation’s most gifted storytellers.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: The New York Times Book Review
      • content: "An imaginative, engrossing, and entertaining storytelling tapestry. . . . As addicting as a Jewish Game of Thrones."
      • premium: False
      • source: Adam Kirsch, Tablet
      • content: "Richly imagined. . . . A classic quest tale. . . . A kind of steampunk fantasia. . . . Barton's book is Jewishly very knowledgeable, drawing on a broad range of history, mythology, and liturgy to create an internally coherent alternative universe."
      • premium: False
      • source: The New Yorker
      • content: "A surreal meld of counterfactual history and Jewish lore. . . . Raises complex questions about alternate history and mythology."
      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist
      • content: "Barton's audacious tale of an otherworldly uprising against the Nazis is a wild pageant of tumult and valor, magic and inventiveness, which, for all its humor, sensuality, steampunk brio, and full-tilt military action, is profoundly inquisitive. . . . With intimations of Cynthia Ozick and Michael Chabon, Barton is spellbinding and provocative in this refulgent, topsy-turvy, questing fantasy."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Forward
      • content: "It would be tempting to set The Book of Esther alongside other contemporary Jewish counterfactual fiction, like Michael Chabon's Yiddish Policemen's Union and Philip Roth's The Plot Against America. All three focus on the time between the rise of the Nazis and the establishment of the State of Israel, and, in different ways, they scramble the founding myths of postwar American Judaism. But Barton is hunting bigger, more philosophical game than Chabon or Roth, both of whom imagine undoing Zionism or American democracy's acceptance of Jews; Barton, however, is braiding a rope of alternative tradition, strong and supple enough to hold modernity without breaking."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Kansas City Star
      • content: "The Book of Esther stands out on the originality and success of its imagined world."
      • premium: False
      • source: Chronogram
      • content: "A glorious mash-up of alternate history, spiritual inquiry, and galloping adventure story, spiced with fantastic technology and a dash of Mulan, The Book of Esther is breathtaking in its ambition and scope."
popularity
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shortDescription
What if an empire of Jewish warriors that really existed in the Middle Ages had never fallen—and was the only thing standing between Hitler and his conquest of Russia? 

Eastern Europe, August 1942. The Khazar kaganate, an isolated nation of Turkic warrior Jews, lies between the Pontus Euxinus (the Black Sea) and the Khazar Sea (the Caspian). It also happens to lie between a belligerent nation to the west that the Khazars call Germania—and a city the rest of the world calls Stalingrad.

After years of Jewish refugees streaming across the border from Europa, fleeing the war, Germania launches its siege of Khazaria. Only Esther, the daughter of the nation’s chief policy adviser, sees the ominous implications of Germania's disregard for Jewish lives. Only she realizes that this isn’t just another war but an existential threat. After witnessing the enemy warplanes’ first foray into sovereign Khazar territory, Esther knows she must...
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