Brother and sister Lev and Samara Meyer live in Montreal’s Mile End—a mashup of hipsters and Hasidic Jews. They have a fairly typical childhood, other than that around the corner Mr. Katz is trying to recreate the Biblical Tree of Knowledge out of plucked leaves, toilet paper rolls, and dental floss. When their father, a professor of Jewish mysticism, is diagnosed with an unusual heart murmur, he becomes convinced that his heart is whispering divine secrets. But when their father’s frenzied attempts to ascend the Tree of Life lead to tragedy, Samara and Lev set out (in separate and divisive ways) to finish what he’s started. It falls to next-door neighbour and Holocaust survivor Chaim Glassman to shatter the silence that divides the members of the Meyer family. But can he break through to them in time?
A remarkable debut novel reminiscent of The History of Love by Nicole Krauss and Bee Season by Myla Goldberg.
“A smart and affecting debut. It’s a story that readers will carry with them long after they have finished the book. Sigal Samuel is an excellent writer, one who is bound to make a profound mark on the literary landscape.” — Steven Galloway, author of The Cellist of Sarajevo