Dysfunctional families aren’t reserved just for the modern day, and this story retells what must be one of the most classic cases in history. The fact that it’s Biblical history just adds to the mystique.
It’s the gentle twists of difference that bring this tale of Jacob and Esau to life and give it power. Yankle, the younger son, grows up resenting his bigger, stronger, marginally older brother. Parental favorites wound. Meanwhile the beloved mother appears as a foreigner, carried away from home and family (and riches) to live in a tent with her past safely hidden in a box. She doesn’t wear a burka. Her shoes are painfully inappropriate. She doesn’t belong, and neither does her son.
Author Uvi Poznansky adds a sense of immediacy to the tale as Yankle looks back on his past with a curious mix of modern and ancient perspectives. There’s a pleasing humor as he muses over religions born from his home or complains of “no bus ticket to be found; and… a plane ticket was out of the question.” There’s all the delight of the familiar when Jacob’s ladder appears, and all the joy of the new as hints and details sneak quietly into the tale. Simultaneously bringing past and present to life, the author gives this Bible story a powerful modern-day relevance behind its haunting antiquity, with every detail inspiring further thought and contemplation. A masterful retelling.
Disclosure: I was lucky enough to buy this when it was free.