This book came out several years ago but it is my go to when someone asks me for historical fiction. Two women, one in the 21st Century, one in the 17th, both Jewish scholars, grapple with their identity, the need to prove themselves in a man's world of academia, and with the issues of ethics, morality and the meaning of life that transcend the generations. There is mystery, intolerance, the Inquisition, and a look at how scholars work with and against one another in deciphering aging texts that are discovered in a London home remodel. Brilliant writing and characters that you will not soon forget. — From Gayle's Picks (page 3)
WINNER OF A NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD
A USA TODAY BESTSELLER
"A gifted writer, astonishingly adept at nuance, narration, and the politics of passion."—Toni Morrison
Set in London of the 1660s and of the early twenty-first century, The Weight of Ink is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect: Ester Velasquez, an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city; and Helen Watt, an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history.
When Helen is summoned by a former student to view a cache of newly discovered seventeenth-century Jewish documents, she enlists the help of Aaron Levy, an American graduate student as impatient as he is charming, and embarks on one last project: to determine the identity of the documents' scribe, the elusive "Aleph."
Electrifying and ambitious, The Weight of Ink is about women separated by centuries—and the choices and sacrifices they must make in order to reconcile the life of the heart and mind.
About the Author
RACHEL KADISH is the award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of the novels From a Sealed Room and Tolstoy Lied: A Love Story, and of the novella I Was Here. Her work has appeared on NPR and in The New York Times, Ploughshares, and Tin House.
A USA Today Bestseller Winner of a National Jewish Book Award Winner of the Association of Jewish Libraries Jewish Fiction Award An Amazon Best Book of the Year Winner of the Boston Authors Club Award for Fiction One of Ms. Magazine's "Bookmark" Titles One of The Jewish Exponent's "2017's Top Reads" "A gifted writer, astonishingly adept at nuance, narration, and the politics of passion." —Toni Morrison "Rachel Kadish’s The Weight of Ink is like A.S. Byatt's Possession, but with more seventeenth-century Judaism...A deeply moving novel." —New Republic “I gasped out loud…[Kadish has a ] mastery of language…[The Weight of Ink] was so powerful and visceral…Incredible…I haven’t been able to read a book since.” —Rose McGowan, New York Times Book Review Podcast "Rachel Kadish’s novel The Weight of Ink is my top Jewish feminist literary pick. Kadish’s novel weaves a web of connections between Ester Velasquez, a Portuguese Jewish female scribe and philosopher living in London in the 1660s, and Helen Watt, a present-day aging historian who’s trying to preserve Ester’s voice even as she revisits her own repressed romantic plot. Both Ester and Helen are part of a long literary line of what writer Rebecca Goldstein has termed 'mind-proud women.'" —Lilith, "7 Jewish Feminist Highlights of 2017" "This book is historical fiction with a side of philosophy set in London, and it explores choices for women in different time periods. What impacts your choices? Do you have candles to read by? Do you have access to books, mentorship and education? What will it take to bring your passions to life? You’ll think about all that and more as you read this novel." —Ms. Magazine, "Feminist Fiction Books to Curl Up With for the Holidays" "So many historical novels play with the 'across worlds and centuries trope,' but this one really delivers, tying characters and manuscripts together with deep assurance. A book to get lost in this summer." —Bethanne Patrick, LitHub "A page-turner. Kadish moves back and forth in time (including an excursion to Israel in the 1950s) with great skill. She knows how to generate suspense – and sympathy for her large cast of characters...packed with fascinating details...The Weight of Ink belongs to its women...Kadish’s most impressive achievement, it seems to me, lies in getting readers to think that maybe, just maybe, a woman like Esther could have existed in the Jewish diaspora circa 1660." —Jerusalem Post "An amazing feat...A great literary and intellectual mystery...you feel as if you're sifting through these letters yourself...a very immersive summer read." —Megan Marshall, "Authors on Authors" for Radio Boston "A superb and wonderfully imaginative reconstruction of the intellectual life of a Jewish woman in London during the time of the Great Plague." —Times Higher Education "An impressive achievement...The book offers a surprisingly taut and gripping storyline...The Weight of Ink has the brains of a scholar, the drive of a sleuth, and the soul of a l —