The Nature of Blood
By Caryl Phillips
Vintage Books, Paperback, 9780679776758, 224pp.
Publication Date: April 1998
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In his most ambitious novel to date, Phillips creates a dazzling kaleidoscope of historical fiction, one that illuminates the dark legacy of Europe's obsession with race and blood. At the center of The Nature of Blood is a young woman, a Nazi death camp survivor, devastated by the loss of everyone she loves. Her story is interwoven with a cast of characters from both the present and past: her uncle Stephan, Othello the Moorish general, three Jews in 15th century Venice, and an Ethiopian Jew struggling for acceptance in contemporary Israel. Tracing these characters through disparate lands and centuries, Phillips creates an unforgettable group portrait of individuals overwhelmed by the force of European tribalism.
"An extraordinarily perceptive and intelligent novel, and a haunting one."--New York Times