If there was ever a book that sat right in my wheelhouse, it’s The Mystics of Mile End by Sigal Samuel. It’s by a Canadian, it’s set among Montreal’s Hasidic Jews, it’s subsumed in the mystical and at it’s heart is a philandering professor. Oh, i did i mention that there are secrets? Yep, you can hear my bells ringing from where you are sitting.
And to say that I was not disappointed by The Mystics of Mile End would be an understatement. I loved it. The story centers on the Meyers family, their somewhat dysfunctional upbringing and the quirky characters that surround them. Each section of the book is told from a different point of view, which is a narrative strategy I love.
But the thing that sealed the deal for me was the way Samuel explored mysticism by coming at it from two directions: the scientific and the religious. Lev’s best friend is obsessed with SETI and the origins of the universe, while others in the book are searching for the same answers through Jewish Kabbalah. Pure awesomeness.
Who would like this book? The Mystics of Mile End is a great combination of storytelling and intellectual stimulus. That is, it made me think – contemplate even – but it didn’t make my brain hurt because the story was so com In some ways it reminded me of an updated, perhaps hipper version of some of Chaim Potok’s work. That being said, i haven’t read Potok in years.
I’d like to thank Broadview Press for kindly sending me a copy of this book for review consideration.