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On the plus side I learned a lot about Chagall. Dara Horn writes well. She channels the great Yiddish authors like Peretsky, Singer, Sholom Aleichem, and Nachman of Bratslav. She has compiled a modern version of the angst, absurdity, folklife, and culture of Yiddishkeit. But on the minus side Horn has also created a story that wanders aimlessly, sometimes is senseless to the point of distraction, and admits the entrance of the supernatural (yes, these are all features of the great age of Yiddish literature) in ways that divert her story rather than move it along. September 2008.