Cover image for In the image : a novel
In the image : a novel
Horn, Dara, 1977-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Norton, [2002]

Physical Description:
278 pages ; 25 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In the Image is an extraordinary first novel illuminated by spiritual exploration, one that remembers "a language, a literature, a held hand, an entire world lived and breathed in the image of God." Bill Landsmann, an elderly Jewish refugee in a New Jersey suburb with a passion for travel, is obsessed with building his slide collection of images from the Bible that he finds scattered throughout the world. The novel begins when he crosses paths with his granddaughter's friend, Leora, and continues by moving forward through her life and backward through his, revealing the unexpected links between his family's past and her family's future. Not just a first novel but a cultural event; a wedding of secular and religious forms of literature; In the Image neither lives in the past nor seeks to escape it, but rather assimilates it, in the best sense of the word, honoring what is lost and finding, among the lost things, the treasures that can renew the present. Reading group guide included.

Author Notes

Dara Horn, the author of the novels All Other Nights, The World to Come, and In the Image, is one of Granta's "Best Young American Novelists" and the winner of two National Jewish Book Awards. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and four children.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In this exceptional first novel, Horn deploys rare imaginative gifts to probe the most complex of spiritual themes. The deftly drawn protagonist, Leora, recoils from the trauma of losing a high-school friend by severing all emotional ties, so contracting her engagement with the world to that of a detached onlooker, an indifferent tourist. But then a very different tourist--the grandfather of her deceased friend--seeks Leora out to share with her the slide images he has collected in his global exploration of Judaism. These strange and unsettling images launch Leora on a personal journey of discovery in which she slowly recovers the power to connect with the world--through love and through faith. Penetrating and enriching the multilayered narrative of this search is a series of reflections on the elusive and often deceptive links between imagery (in doll-house play and drug-induced visions; in museum painting and Hollywood cinema) and reality. Encountering at every turn the constraints and the promises of her Jewish heritage, Leora finally begins to glimpse the primal Maker (and Destroyer) of all images, the God who created all humankind in a divine image inexhaustibly beautiful, unpredictable, and heartbreaking. Poignant and profound, a novel that invites careful re-reading. --Bryce Christensen

Publisher's Weekly Review

In an enchanting, introspective and emotionally charged debut, Horn travels back and forth through time and space offering snapshots of the intertwining lives of Vienna native William Landsmann and his late granddaughter's best friend, Leora. Following the hit-and-run accident that killed his granddaughter Naomi in the suburbs of New Jersey, the depressed Landsmann tries to forge a friendship with high school student Leora by showing her slides from his travels, image after endless image. As Leora matures and slowly heals from the loss, she meets and falls in love with Jason, a college jock who has his heart set on caring for the elderly until he undergoes a religious transformation. Things end badly with Jason, but a few years later, Leora meets introspective Jake, at a lecture on Spinoza in Amsterdam. Jake, to Leora's fascination, "could have been born in any era, in any place in the world, and would probably have turned out more or less the same." Tossed into the mix are flashbacks from Landsmann's childhood and stories of his grandmother Leah, who flings her father's tefillin into New York Harbor at the tragic end of a love affair. Horn examines the religious and secular choices of each character, questioning the true nature of Judaism and of faith in general without being preachy or overly judgmental. An occasional stiffness in the narration is overcome by the warmth of her appreciation of Jewish culture and heritage, and she makes eloquent use of recurring motifs-modeling clay, photographs, miniature dollhouses and deep sea diving among them-as she captures life in early 20th-century Europe and contemporary New York. Agent, Gary Morris. (Sept.) Forecast: Horn's first claim to fame was an article she wrote for Hadassah at the age of 15, which was nominated for a National Magazine Award. The core readership of her novel may well include some of her original readers-she is making appearances at Jewish book fairs as well as embarking on a seven-city author tour. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Horn's plot can't be summed up easily, but she takes readers on a spiritual journey, blending deep scholarship with a story of love and renewal that the publicist declares "the most astonishing debut I've ever read." (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Touristsp. 13
Chapter 2 In the Valley of Discarded Namesp. 35
Chapter 3 Barbarians at the Gatesp. 67
Chapter 4 The Missing Linkp. 99
Chapter 5 Go Bang Your Head Against the Wallp. 131
Chapter 6 A Long and Dreamless Nightp. 161
Chapter 7 The Same Long and Dreamless Night, Elsewherep. 178
Chapter 8 The Better Dealp. 197
Chapter 9 Floodgatesp. 221
Chapter 10 The Book of Hurricane Jobp. 254
Chapter 11 A Tourist in the Lost Cityp. 268
Landsmann Family Treep. 280
Acknowledgmentsp. 283