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Dropped from heaven

Sophie Judah
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"A marvelous fiction debut–a collection of richly told, deeply moving stories about everyday life within a community of Indian Jews as its ancient culture confronts the modern world. In the mythical village of Jwalanagar, the Jewish traditions of the Bene Israel have survived for more than two thousand years, but the twentieth century brings with it modernity and cataclysmic political change. In these nineteen interconnected stories–by turns insightful, humorous, and heartbreaking; poignant, gentle, and searingly sad–we follow this community across the years as its way of life is forever altered. In “Hannah and Benjamin,” the parents of a young woman are shocked when she defies their rejection of the man she wishes to marry–but no more shocked than the man himself. In “Nathoo,” a kindly Jewish soldier and his wife adopt a Hindu boy orphaned in the post-independence violence of 1947–with disastrous results. In “Dropped from Heaven,” a mother with three unmarried daughters at home and a copy of Pride and Prejudice in her handbag springs into action when she hears that two single brothers are coming to town looking for brides. And in “Old Man Moses,” a lonely and imperious old man is visited by his Israeli grandson and the young man’s girlfriend, and finds that there is still a place in his heart for love. Sophie Judah tells these stories in a wonderfully fresh and original voice, and gives us a fascinating look at an ancient, vibrant community that now exists only in memory."