The World to Come

  • by Dara Horn
  • Narrated by William Dufris
  • 13 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

An intoxicating combination of mystery, spirituality, redemption, piety, and passion, The World to Come is Dara Horn's follow-up to her breakout, critically-acclaimed debut novel In the Image. Using a real-life art heist as her starting point, Horn traces the life and times of several characters, including Russian-born artist Marc Chagall and the New Jersey-based Ziskind family. Benjamin Ziskind, a former child prodigy, now spends his days writing questions for a television trivia show. After Ben's twin sister Sara forces him to attend a singles cocktail party at a Jewish museum, Ben spots Over Vitebsk, a Chagall sketch that once hung in the twins' childhood home. Convinced the painting was stolen from his family, Ben steals the work of art and enlists Sara to create a forgery to replace it. While trying to evade the police, Ben attempts to find the truth of how the painting got to the museum. From a Jewish orphanage in 1920s Soviet Russia where Marc Chagall taught art to orphaned Jewish boys, to a junior high school in Newark, New Jersey, with a stop in the jungles of Da Nang, Vietnam, Horn weaves a story of mystery, romance, folklore, history, and theology into a spellbinding modern tale. Richly satisfying, utterly unique, her novel opens the door to "the world to come", not life after death, but the world we create through our actions right now.

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What the Critics Say

"A deeply satisfying literary mystery and a funny-sad meditation on how the past haunts the present, and how we haunt the future." (Time)
"Spellbinding....A compelling collage of history, mystery, theology, and scripture, The World to Come is a narrative tour de force crackling with conundrums and dark truths." (Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Poorly rad

This novel should rate a 3 1/2 or 4. In particular, the imaginative integration of Jewish stories and folk-tales works well.
However, the reading is ABBYSMAL. The narrator's voice is wimpy and poorly nuanced at the best of times. But when he represents the dialogue of female characters he seems almost to be deliberately parodying them.
Readers like John Lee (The Sea) or George Hearn (Eventide) meet their material and even elevate it. Both know how to signal a female voice effectively. This reader, by contrast, made hearing the book really difficult.
It's a tribute to the strength of the book, and particular to the ways it intrigued me, that I persisted to the end.
I've listened to many, many books on tape. The is the worst reading I've ever encountered.
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- Karen

Great book!

I found this to be one of the most enjoyable of the 200 + books on tape that I have listened to. It belongs right up there with other great "reads" such as "The History of Love" and "The Book Thief". If you liked those two, you'll like this one as well. The story was fascinating, the writing was excellent and, contrary to what the previous reviewers have said, I thought that the narration was very good. I highly recommend this book.
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- Robert

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-18-2006
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio