Set in London of the 1660s and of the early twenty-first century, The Weight of Ink is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect: Ester Velasquez, an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city; and Helen Watt, an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history.
When Helen is summoned by a former student to view a cache of newly discovered seventeenth-century Jewish documents, she enlists the help of Aaron Levy, an American graduate student as impatient as he is charming, and embarks on one last project: to determine the identity of the documents’ scribe, the elusive “Aleph”.
Electrifying and ambitious, The Weight of Ink is about women separated by centuries–and the choices and sacrifices they must make in order to reconcile the life of the heart and mind.
Rachel Kadish is the award-winning author of the novels From a Sealed Room, Tolstoy Lied: A Love Story and The Weight of Ink, as well as the novella I Was Here. Her work has appeared on NPR and in the New York Times, Ploughshares, and Tin House, and has been anthologised in the Pushcart Prize Anthology and elsewhere. She lives outside Boston and teaches in Lesley University's MFA Program in Creative Writing. www.rachelkadish.com
“A gifted writer, astonishingly adept at nuance, narration, and the politics of passion.” Toni Morrison
‘A sophisticated twining of literature and early modern history, The Weight of Ink expertly layers research and imagination, blending historical romance with intellectually satisfying metafiction.’ Sydney Morning Herald
“This astonishing third novel from Kadish introduces readers to the 17th-century Anglo-Jewish world with not only excellent scholarship, but also fine storytelling. The riveting narrative and well-honed characters will earn a place in readers’ hearts.” Library Journal, starred review
“Like A.S. Byatt’s Possession and Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, this emotionally rewarding novel follows […] present-day academics trying to make sense of a mystery from the past… Vivid and memorable.” Publisher’s Weekly
“An unforgettable quest… Kadish’s characters are memorable, and we’re treated to a host of them…From Shakespeare’s Dark Lady to Spinoza’s philosophical heresies, Kadish leaves no stone unturned in this moving historical epic. Chock-full of rich detail and literary intrigue.” Kirkus Reviews
“Kadish positions two women born centuries apart yet united by a thirst for knowledge at the core of a richly textured, addictive novel…Kadish has fashioned a suspenseful literary tale that serves as a compelling tribute to women across the centuries committed to living, breathing, and celebrating the life of the mind.” Booklist