Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Happiness Isn't Happiness Without a Violin-Playing Goat

Last week, I met author Dara Horn when she came to Bend to speak. I read her book, The World to Come, Deschutes County Library's selection for collective reading.

The plot is based on a real event - the heist of a million-dollar Chagall painting - broadened to imagine fictional characters to delve into the question, who would steal a painting from an art museum during a single's cocktail hour? The book contains other real persons and events from history, such as the writer Der Nister and the Russian pogroms, telling the story of art, life and death.

Think about what it means to say, "the world to come". You might think of the afterlife or heaven, depending on your beliefs. Another way to interpret the idea is the world to come in this life, from the decisions we make. Cheating on a test, who to marry, where to live, to go for a walk....all of those things affect our lives in one way or another.

Historical events, fleshed-out characters, and philosophical ideas, all wrapped up into one well-written book. My recommendation for you, should you choose to accept it, is to read The World to Come.

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