And After the Fire by Lauren Belfer – Book Review


I really think this novel not only tells a great story, but also brings up valid, timely questions.  The crux of the novel is that after the death of her uncle, Susanna Kessler finds an original score by Johann Sebastian Bach in his house.  How her uncle came by the manuscript, and what exactly Susanna should do with it are some the questions the novel seeks to answer.


This novel not only tells the story of Susanna, but also the story of Sara Itzig Levy, the first recipient of this score.  Personally, I found both stories to be riveting, and enjoyed the back-and-forth telling of each story.


The novel also brings up the age-old question:  can hate speech, repeated over many many years, bring about hate and the acting on it?  While reading this intense novel, I found myself pondering that very question.  I found out facts from history which were new to me.  I also discovered some things regarding Martin Luther, that as a former Lutheran, I had been unaware of.

One of the reasons that I read, and probably many of you have the same reasons, are to learn something I don’t know, and to see life through someone else’s eyes.  This novel does both and in a wonderfully written way.  I highly recommend it.


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