Romance and terror, light and shadow, replicas and originals, hover side by side, seeking reconciliation, while within me there is a sense of awe and a silent refrain: I am here, at last I am here; and it is far more beautiful than I had imagined. And far more devastating. Yet, somehow, never have I felt so much at peace.
In the twenty-five years since it was published, Jewels and Ashes has become a classic, a book that has stood the test of time.
Compelled by the momentum of memory, the unsettling fragments of ancestral stories told him as a child, Arnold Zable travels to the Eastern European countryside of his parents’ remembrance, the terrain of his dreams and imagination, where he retraces the steps of the generations before him. Miraculously, it is this journey to the past that allows Zable to understand the present — the inner lives of those who, like his parents, survived the hatred but lost every trace of his family and former lives.
Arnold Zable has articulated, exquisitely, the haunted consciousness of the next generation. An astonishing achievement, this is a lyrical, transcendent, luminous work.