The Ruined House
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The Ruined House

3.28 (314 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

"A Masterpiece."--The New York Times Book Review (editor's choice)

"In The Ruined House a 'small harmless modicum of vanity' turns into an apocalyptic bonfire. Shot through with humor and mystery and insight, Ruby Namdar's wonderful first novel examines how the real and the unreal merge. It's a daring study of madness, masculinity, myth-making and the human fragility that emerges in the mix."

--Colum McCann, National Book Award-winning author of Let the Great World Spin



Winner of the Sapir Prize, Israel's highest literary award

Picking up the mantle of legendary authors such as Saul Bellow and Philip Roth, an exquisite literary talent makes his debut with a nuanced and provocative tale of materialism, tradition, faith, and the search for meaning in contemporary American life.

Andrew P. Cohen, a professor of comparative culture at New York University, is at the zenith of his life. Adored by his classes and published in prestigious literary magazines, he is about to receive a coveted promotion--the crowning achievement of an enviable career. He is on excellent terms with Linda, his ex-wife, and his two grown children admire and adore him. His girlfriend, Ann Lee, a former student half his age, offers lively companionship. A man of elevated taste, education, and culture, he is a model of urbanity and success.

But the manicured surface of his world begins to crack when he is visited by a series of strange and inexplicable visions involving an ancient religious ritual that will upend his comfortable life.

Beautiful, mesmerizing, and unsettling, The Ruined House unfolds over the course of one year, as Andrew's world unravels and he is forced to question all his beliefs. Ruby Namdar's brilliant novel embraces the themes of the American Jewish literary canon as it captures the privilege and pedantry of New York intellectual life in the opening years of the twenty-first century.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 528 pages
  • 157.48 x 233.68 x 33.02mm | 725.75g
  • HarperCollins
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0062467492
  • 9780062467492
  • 721,080

Back cover copy

The winner of the Sapir Prize, Israel's highest literary award, Ruby Namdar's The Ruined House follows Andrew P. Cohen, a professor of comparative culture at New York University, who is at the zenith of his life. Admired by his students and published in prestigious literary magazines, he is about to receive a coveted promotion--the crowning achievement of an enviable career. He is on excellent terms with Linda, his ex-wife, and his two daughters adore him. His girlfriend, Ann Lee, a former student half his age, offers lively companionship. A man of elevated taste, education, and culture, he is a model of urbanity and success.

But the manicured surface of his world begins to crack when strange and inexplicable visions involving an ancient religious ritual take hold of his mind and upend his seemingly serene existence.

Interspersed throughout the novel are pages from an ancient Talmudic text, harking back to the imagined golden age of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Hidden in the small letters of this frenzied, semi-opaque "other" narrative lies the mysterious key to understanding the drama of Andrew's life.

Mesmerizing and unsettling, The Ruined House unfolds over the course of one year, as Andrew's world unravels and he is forced to question all his beliefs. Steeped in the tradition of the greatest Jewish American novels, Namdar's brilliant debut captures the privilege and pedantry of New York intellectual life in the opening years of the twenty-first century. In sumptuous and incantatory prose, Namdar spins a nuanced and provocative tale of materialism, tradition, faith, and the search for meaning in contemporary culture.
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Review quote

"Exhilarating..a masterpiece of modern religious literature, exactly as deep, disturbing and unresolved as is necessary to remind us, habituated as we are to the shallows of contemporary Jewish life, what still lurks beneath -- primitive, raw and exacting."--New York Times Book Review, Editor's Choice
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Rating details

314 ratings
3.28 out of 5 stars
5 18% (57)
4 28% (89)
3 27% (84)
2 18% (55)
1 9% (29)
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