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The Genizah at the House of Shepher by Tamar Yellin


ISBN 1 59264 085 0, Hardcover, US $19.95, CAN $19.95

Winner: 2006 Harold Ribalow Prize
Winner: 2007 Sami Rohr Prize
Hadassah Book Club Pick

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winner of rohr prizeShulamit, a biblical scholar from England, returns to her grandparents’ home in Jerusalem for a visit, after an absence of many years. Almost immediately she becomes embroiled in a family feud over possession of the so-called Shepher Codex, a mysterious and valuable manuscript which has been discovered in the attic. In tracing the origins of the Codex she uncovers the history of the Shepher family itself: of her great-grandfather, who traveled to Babylon in search of the ten lost tribes; of her grandfather, a dreamer whose Zionist ideals brought him into confl ict with his religion; of her parents, and their tormented love affair; and of her own orphaned and unhappy past. At the same time, she struggles to find answers to pressing questions: what is the significance of the Codex and where does it come from? Who is the stranger, Gideon, who is desperate to enlist her help? Above all, whom does the Codex belong to and what part must Shula play in its destiny?

Set against the backdrop of a changing Jerusalem over a hundred and thirty years, The Genizah at the House of Shepher is a large-canvas novel of exile and belonging, displacement, and the quest for both love and a true promised land.


About the Author

Tamar YellinTAMAR YELLIN was born in the north of England, and studied Hebrew and Arabic at Oxford. Her short stories, which have been described as "ironic, humane and highly accomplished," have appeared in a wide variety of journals and anthologies. The Genizah at the House of Shepher is her first published novel.



Author website

The Genizah at the House of Shepher

The Critics Praise:
“Impossible to put down…beauty, deep love, and a timelessness that will likely make it a classic.” Booklist starred review

“A marvel of moody introspection mixed with mystery and religious intrigue. Beautifully written and evoking echoes of A.S. Byatt’s Possession…a rich, satisfying tale.” Jeff VanderMeer

“A fascinating, labyrinthine journey…cohesively combines the epic and personal sense of sorrow and nostalgia rooted in home.” Kirkus Reviews

“Warm and engrossing, rich with historical detail and unmet yearning.” Publishers Weekly

“A Jewish-style Da Vinci Code saga…rich in fascinating detail, typical wit and humor.” Ynet

“It is the interplay of the familiar and the ought-to-be-familiar, the modern and the ancient, the parent and the child, the choice and the chance, the real and the fantastic, that give this novel its power and its fascination.” Jerusalem Report

“Filled with myth, mystery, and history…recommended.” Library Journal

“Shepher is the Hebrew word for beauty. This stunning book has its proper name.” Bookpage



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