The past interweaves with the future in The Incandescent Threads, a sublime novel from Richard Zimler. This is the fifth book which forms part of the Sephardic Cycle, a set of standalone novels exploring the lives of different generations of a Portugese-Jewish family.
Here, we follow the journey of Benni and Shelly, both of whom survived the Holocaust and have carried the weight of their personal history for many years, meeting many characters along the way from Poland to America. Each section is narrated by a different character, from first loves to family members; we may not recognise the character from the previous section, but in time it becomes clear they form an influential part of the journey.
The incandescent threads of the title are described within the pages thus: “Everything that’s ever happened was joined together by filaments of cause and effect that we can’t normally see.” An extraordinary premise and exquisitely written, it was so easy to become immersed in the narrative that offered so much insight into the historic events experienced by the characters. While this was the first book I have read in the Sephardic Cycle series, I wasn’t left feeling that not having read the previous novels denied me crucial information – and what’s more, I now have many to catch up on.
The Incandescent Threads, Richard Zimler (Parthian)
Price: £20. Info: here
words RHIANON HOLLEY
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