After Abel and Other Stories
by Michal Lemberger and Jonathan Kirsch

Overview - Finalist, 2015 National Jewish Book Award

Honorable Mention, Sophie Brody Medal, American Library Association

One of the Jewish Book Council's "15 fiction books that shaped Jewish literature in 2015"

Eve considers motherhood. 

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More About After Abel and Other Stories by Michal Lemberger; Jonathan Kirsch
Finalist, 2015 National Jewish Book Award

Honorable Mention, Sophie Brody Medal, American Library Association

One of the Jewish Book Council's "15 fiction books that shaped Jewish literature in 2015"

Eve considers motherhood.
Miriam tends Moses.
Lot's wife looks back.

Vividly reimagined with startling contemporary clarity, Michal Lemberger's debut collection of short stories gives voice to silent, oft-marginalized biblical women: their ambitions, their love for their children, their values, their tremendous struggles and challenges. Informed by Lemberger's deep knowledge of the Bible, each of these nine stories story recasts a biblical saga from the perspective of a pivotal woman.

Michal Lemberger's nonfiction and journalism have appeared in Slate, Salon, Tablet, and other publications, and her poetry has been published in a number of print and online journals. A story from After Abel, her first collection of fiction, was featured in Lilith Magazine. Lemberger holds an MA and PhD in English from UCLA and a BA in English and religion from Barnard College. She has taught the Hebrew Bible as Literature at UCLA and the American Jewish University. She was born and raised in New York and now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two daughters.

"Original and thought-provoking." --KIRKUS REVIEWS

"Lemberger imbues her characters with a consciousness that, although taking place in ancient times, seems contemporary, because she brings such empathy to her characters... It is this act of empathy that shines through.... an alternative dialogue that reminds us that it is the stories that we tell that are civilization's true heritage." -- FORBES

"Fresh and engaging." --PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"Appeals to readers with even the most basic introduction to the Biblical canon, but especially those whose imaginations are piqued by the mystery of an untold story." --JEWISH BOOK WORLD

"Reminiscent of Anita Diamant's The Red Tent. . . . These beautifully written stories feel like meeting Eve, Lot's wife, and many other compelling characters for the first time." --LAUREL CORONA, author of The Mapmaker's Daughter and The Four Seasons: A Novel of Vivaldi's Venice

"Stunning." --MOLLY ANTOPOL, author of The UnAmericans

"Gorgeous and captivating." --DARA HORN, author of A Guide for the Perplexed and The World to Come

"Marvelous." --MICHELLE HUNEVEN, author of Off Course and Blame

"What struck me most about these stories is their clear, assured confidence--as if Michal Lemberger had pulled apart some of the lines in the old story, spied a new story tucked in there way off in a corner, shimmied in a fishhook and pulled it out." --AIMEE BENDER, author of The Color Master and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

  • ISBN-13: 9781938849473
  • ISBN-10: 1938849477
  • Publisher: Prospect Park Books
  • Publish Date: April 2015
  • Page Count: 288
  • Dimensions: 6.9 x 5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.5 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Short Stories (single author)
Books > Fiction > Jewish
Books > Fiction > Historical - General

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-02-09
  • Reviewer: Staff

Biblical stories and their female characters get an entirely new, often surprising perspective in Lemberger’s fiction debut. In each of nine independent narratives, Lemberger, a professor who teaches the Bible as literature at American Jewish University in Los Angeles, creates a complete world based loosely on the biblical accounts of the origins and history of the Jewish people. Unlike the original text, which typically gives a sentence or two to the female characters, she creates a full-fledged picture of those lives and shares the characters’ thoughts and actions. Included in the volume are stories about Eve; Zeresh, Haman’s wife; Yael, the Kenite woman who beheaded the Caananite general Sisera; and Hannah, barren but beloved, and Penina, fertile but hated, both of them wives to Elkanah. The stories are fresh and engaging, but Lemberger’s literary license may offend some more biblically conservative readers, such as when she portrays Hagar, Abraham’s concubine and mother of Ishmael, as a dimwit, and Lot’s wife as an accidental destroyer. Still, her knowledge of the Bible is evident and her creativity shines through as she weaves nine thoughtful and layered accounts of distant, complicated times. (Apr.)

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