Jonathan Rabb

Sessions

Books

Among the Living

In late summer 1947, thirty-one-year-old Yitzhak Goldah, a camp survivor, arrives in Savannah to live with his only remaining relatives. They are Abe and Pearl Jesler, older, childless, and an integral part of the thriving Jewish community that has been in Georgia since the founding of the colony. There, Yitzhak discovers a fractured world, where Reform and Conservative Jews live separate lives–distinctions, to him, that are meaningless given what he has been through. He further complicates things when, much to the Jeslers’ dismay, he falls in love with Eva, a young widow within the Reform community. When a woman from Yitzhak’s past suddenly appears–one who is even more shattered by the war than he is–Yitzhak must choose between a dark and tortured familiarity and the promise of a bright new life. Set amid the backdrop of America's postwar south, Among the Living grapples with questions of identity and belonging, and steps beyond the Jewish experience as it situates Yitzhak's within the last gasp of the Jim Crow era. That he begins to find echoes of his recent past in the lives of the black family who works for the Jeslers-- an affinity he does not share with the Jeslers themselves --both surprises and convinces Yitzhak that his choices are not as clear-cut as he might think.


Jonathan Rabb is an American novelist, essayist, and writer. He is the author of five novels, including The Berlin Trilogy (Rosa, Shadow and Light, and The Second Son), a critically acclaimed series of historical thrillers. Rosa won the 2006 Director’s Special Prize at Spain’s Semana Negra festival, and was named one of January Magazine’s Best Books of 2005. Rabb has taught at Columbia University, New York University, the 92nd Street Y, and is currently a professor in the writing department at the Savannah College of Art and Design.