By Ruchama King
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9780312309152, 256pp.)
Publication Date: August 2003
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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The closed, secret world of matchmaking in contemporary Israel provides the titillating pivot for a story of uncommon proportions. In Ruchama King's skillful hands, Seven Blessings maps out the complicated lives of five expatriate women and men whose search for a soul mate, in many ways, mirrors their search for God.
At the center of this fascinating novel is Beth, who at age thirty-nine longs to be married but despairs she ever will be. When she finally meets the man of her dreams, he has what she believes to be an insurmountable flaw. Can she overcome her repugnance in order to forge a new life? Binyamin, a talented painter and student, lacks the humility to identify a worthy wife. He strains the matchmakers' patience until his search for perfect love finally becomes ridiculous, even to himself. Tsippi and Judith, the matchmakers, are stumbling themselves, with marriages that need propping up. In this land of miracles, seeking the right match, whether between singles, husband and wife, student and teacher, or man and God, becomes a quest that opens the Bible to us in a new way.
Rich characters, an intriguing setting, writing that offers unique nuances, and ultimately a story that keeps you turning the pages all combine to introduce a remarkable newcomer. Seven Blessings redefines the Jewish experience, with a story that will ring with truth for anyone who's ever considered getting married.
Ruchama King lived, studied, and taught in Jerusalem for ten years. Her short stories have appeared in various magazines and journals. She now lives in New Jersey with her husband and children. Seven Blessings is her first novel.
"While the machinations of matchmakers have long been a staple of fiction, King's evdebut novel puts a fresh spin on the subject....King's portrayal of a religious community is as warm and engaging as any in contemporary literature. Her characters jump off the page and into the hearts of her audience...charming, spiritual tale."--Library Journal
"A gentle evocation of love and faith in Jerusalem's Orthodox community....King then seems, like a Jewish Jane Austen....Much of the story's strength rises from King's generous description of Jerusalem....A tender enlightening debut that, urban setting aside, reads like a comedy of provincial manners."--Kirkus
"Two Orthodox Jewish matchmakers strive busily to marry off their neighbors in this bustling debut novel set in modern-day Jerusalem...her richly detailed descriptions of Jerusalem (the reader can almost smell the falafel frying) and her sympathetic characters make this a fully realized novel."--Publishers Weekly
"While...matchmakers have long been a staple of fiction, King's debut novel puts a fresh spin on the subject...."
"A gentle evocation of love and faith in Jerusalem's Orthodox community....King then seems, like a Jewish Jane Austen...."
"...her richly detailed descriptions of Jerusalem...and her sympathetic characters make this a fully realized novel."
"King's portrayal of a religious community is as warm and engaging as any in contemporary literature."
"Her characters jump off the page and into the hearts of her audience...charming, spiritual tale."