THE RABBI'S WIFE by David Benedictus


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David Benedictus hasn't written a novel in close to ten years--you'll find some of the cheeky touches of his earlier books on the sidelines while the story here begins in Blackheath's ""Anglo-Jewry. . . suburbia and diaspora."" During a service where the rabbi's wife Susannah eyes her handsome if passive husband Jamie and all those shawls and hats--so much ""Tallis in Wonderland."" But then she fell in love with the rabbi, not his calling, and she has a questioning, liberated turn of mind. From here on the novel becomes deadly serious--a party of Palestinian Liberation terrorists raid the synagogue's Youth Center and take Susannah and the youngsters in custody--the latter are gagged, wired, beaten, and shot. And after the police finally move in, Susannah is removed at gunpoint to a filthy cell in Lebanon where she is raped with regularity. Until the two leaders try to use her otherwise--as propaganda--and she's seen in a Beirut nightclub with one of them, further inflaming home viewers and of course Jamie. Jamie until now has done little, been relieved of his duties, found small consolation in the Torah or Bonhoeffer, and he disintegrates before and after one ineffectual show of courage. Benedictus' inventive story is both terrifying and convincing--how seldom do we find these qualities in tandem. He also writes with a show of wit and wits to hold an audience which should be there. It puts Exodus to shame.

Pub Date: Aug. 26th, 1976
Publisher: Evans