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In the Image

A Novel

Dara Horn (Author)

Overview | Inside the Book

A young woman's coming of age, a romantic love story, and a spiritual journey—each infused with the lessons of history.

In the Image is an extraordinary first novel illuminated by spiritual exploration, one that remembers "a language, a literature, a held hand, an entire world lived and breathed in the image of God."

Bill Landsmann, an elderly Jewish refugee in a New Jersey suburb with a passion for travel, is obsessed with building his slide collection of images from the Bible that he finds scattered throughout the world. The novel begins when he crosses paths with his granddaughter's friend, Leora, and continues by moving forward through her life and backward through his, revealing the unexpected links between his family's past and her family's future.

Not just a first novel but a cultural event—a wedding of secular and religious forms of literature—In the Image neither lives in the past nor seeks to escape it, but rather assimilates it, in the best sense of the word, honoring what is lost and finding, among the lost things, the treasures that can renew the present. Reading group guide included.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • September 2003
  • ISBN 978-0-393-32526-3
  • 5.5 × 8.2 in / 302 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide


Endorsements & Reviews

“A gripping story told with learning and passion. It does not just use Jewish sources, it breathes them, and breathes into them the breath of life.” — Rabbi David Wolpe, author of Why Be Jewish?

“This is a lovely book that will give pleasure to many readers, and it signals the beginning of an interesting career.” — Jay Parini, author of The Apprentice Lover

“[I]t may be the most ambitious and accomplished first novel I have ever read.” — Melvin Jules Bukiet, author of Strange Fire

“A tender and touching story of vanished worlds and recovered lives.” — Thane Rosenbaum, author of The Golems of Gotham

“[T]old with moral passion, vigor, humor, and an unflagging fascination with the coincidences, miseries, grotesqueries, and triumphs of life.” — Richard Snow, American Heritage

“Starred Review. An enchanting, introspective and emotionally charged debut.” — Publishers Weekly

“Not merely a striking success as a whole but a technical tour de force.” — David Gelernter, Commentary

“It is a novel that seems flooded with godly light. —Jay Parini, author of The Apprentice Lover” — Jay Parini

“A stunning example of how to thread the warp of Jewish history into the woof of contemporary American Jewish life.” — Hadassah Magazine

“An ebullient and vibrant new voice.” — Jewish Week

“Horn creates small worlds, beautifully detailed and textured, that ultimately fit together.” — Jewish Woman Magazine

“Riveting—compulsive reading, authoritative from the first sentence. A fine book from a powerful new imagination.” — PaknTreger Magazine

“[An] unsettling, otherworldly novel.” — The Boston Globe

“Incredibly poignant ... with audacious appropriation of lines and themes from Jewish texts.... [Horn is] a writer with great self-confidence.” — The Jerusalem Post

“Impressive...remarkable...All of the characters struggle for those gemlike qualities of passion, brilliance, clarity, fire.” — The New Orleans Times-Picayune

Also by Dara Horn All

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  2. Book CoverEternal Life: A Novel


  3. Book CoverA Guide for the Perplexed: A Novel


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