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What to read for Passover

There is plenty of Passover-themed fiction for children. What is there for adults?

By / March 29, 2010

Which novels make good reads for Passover?

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Passover 2010 begins tonight and I couldn't help noticing how many lists of recommended children's books – including fiction for a wide range of ages – there seem to be related to the holiday. But then that got me wondering – what about books for adults? Is there such a thing as Passover fiction?

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There is of course, last year's novel by Dara Horn, All Other Nights, that manages to combine Judaism and American history in a book that reads like a thriller. "All Other Nights" takes readers back to Passover 1862, in the midst of the US Civil War, weaving the tale of a Jewish soldier who is ordered to kill his uncle – because his uncle is plotting to kill Abraham Lincoln.

To my surprise I also discovered, courtesy of MysteryReadersInc.Blogspot, that there is also a subgenre of Passover mystery novels. Five recommended by MysteryReaders are: The Passover Murder by Lee Harris; The Passover Plot by Hugh J. Schonfield; Never Nosh a Matzo Ball by Sharon Kahn; The Samaritans' Secret by Matt Beynon Rees; and Sunday the Rabbi Stayed Home, by Harry Kemelman.

When it comes to children's books, the recommendations are numerous. Just to pick one list out of several I found online, FlashlightWorthyBooks highlights several titles, including two US Civil War stories (The Yankee at the Seder by Elka Weber, and Private Joel and the Sewall Mountain Seder, by Bryna J. Fireside, illustrated by Shawn Costello), The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah, by Leslie Kimmelman (which is a case of an old nursery rhyme meeting up with Jewish tradition), and A Tale of Two Seders by Mindy, Avra Portnoy, illustrated by Valeria Cis (which considers the way a child of divorce might experience Passover).

I am sure, however, that when it comes to adult titles, I must be missing a treasure-trove. Can anyone help me out with a list of good adult Passover fiction?

Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor's book editor.

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