Before All the World

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Product Details

$27.00  $25.11
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publish Date
5.49 X 7.67 X 1.09 inches | 0.85 pounds

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About the Author

Moriel Rothman-Zecher is a Jerusalem-born novelist and poet. His first novel, Sadness Is a White Bird, was a finalist for a Dayton Literary Peace Prize and a National Jewish Book Award, won an Ohioana Book Award, and was long-listed for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. His poetry and essays have been published in Barrelhouse, Colorado Review, The Common, The New York Times, The Paris Review Daily, and ZYZZYVA, and he is the recipient of the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 honor, two MacDowell Fellowships, and Yiddishkayt's Wallis Annenberg Helix Fellowship.


"Boldly imagined . . . Before All the World may be set in the 1930s, but it feels as though it is outside of time . . . Rothman-Zecher has uncovered something extraordinary: trauma itself is a kind of translation. It's a recreation of events that becomes more removed as time goes on, and language is our only guide."
--Mara Sandroff, Newcity Lit

"At its core, Before All the World considers one essential question: what does it mean to remember the past while still imagining the future? . . . Its most striking accomplishment is its invitation to the reader to become a part of the novel's chorus. What will you do, it asks, now that you've read this story?"
--Adina Applebaum, Jewish Book Council

"Original, daring, experimental, moving, poignant, engaging . . . With shades of Tony Kushner and Cynthia Ozick . . . Before All the World understands how our worlds are made by words, and in the altering of the latter we may as yet redeem the former."
--Ed Simon, The Millions, "Most Anticipated Books of 2022"

"Rich and engrossing . . . A powerful story, brilliantly told."
--Publishers Weekly, starred review

"A one-of-a-kind creation."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Before All the World is beautiful and original. It is also strange, arresting, high-risk. Very quickly this novel starts to work on the mind, making itself felt in complex and powerful and visionary ways, led by the rhythm in the language and the urge to make that language new."
--Colm Tóibín, author of The Magician

"Evocative, inventive, vivid, and strange, Before All the World is a mesmeric, enrapturing read."
--Eimear McBride, author of Strange Hotel

"Before All the World startles and swirls, and makes fresh the experience of language itself. It has it all: a gripping story, an original structure, and a tender, ghostly glow."
--Justin Torres, author of We the Animals

"Before All the World is a song about survival and a refusal to be erased. Daringly crafted and poetically told, this novel is a celebration of Moriel Rothman-Zecher's extraordinary talent, compassion, and love for humanity. To read Before All the World is to abandon all of our expectations and privileges so that the torch of curiosity and the beauty of words can lead us to unexpected places, where we can see ourselves in those whom we might have considered the Other."
--Nguyen Phan Que Mai, author of The Mountains Sing

"A ride as breathtaking as it is gratifying, Moriel Rothman-Zecher's Before All the World deftly explores the relationship between three broken people: two pogrom refugees persecuted in their homeland by virtue of religion who cross an ocean to cross paths with a man persecuted in his own homeland by virtue of race. With tragicomic adroitness, Rothman Zecher's meticulous prose is full of delicious humor and irony, a glorious Yidenglish tapestry confirming that the world is indeed not all darkness."
--Kia Corthron, author of Moon and the Mars

"Before All The World is astonishing, spellbinding and poetic. It is a groundbreaking and awe-inspiring song of resilience, memory, identity and love. I can't recall the last time I was so mesmerized by a work. The way the reader is carried by its characters, transported by its language, enveloped by its many worlds is stunningly beautiful. Simply, it's a masterpiece--one of those rare books that upon reaching its last words you immediately need to start reading again!"
--Ariana Neumann, author of When Time Stopped