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Continuing with her narration of the story of the Patriarchs in the Book of Genesis, After These Things is an account of the relationship between Abraham's tragic son Isaac and Isaac's son Jacob. The book follows the psychological trail of the children of Abraham, the first properly constituted family and finds that like all families, their story is structured by wishes and fears. In Isaac and Jacob's relationship we see all the complexities of love, power, desire that make them quintessentially human. The inimitable Jenny Diski tells this ancient story anew, with the deliciously subversive wit and intelligence readers have come to expect from this wonderfully surprising writer.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781844080151
ISBN-10: 1844080153
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 132mm x 14mm)
Pages: 224
Imprint: Virago Press Ltd
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 3-Feb-2005
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » Diski continues her examination of Old Testament figures (she began with Abraham and Sarah in Only Human, 2001), focusing this time on Isaac and Jacob. Eschewing the costume melodrama of much historical fiction, Diski instead pares down the biblical stories to their emotional, universal core. Beginning with Isaac, she creates a portrait of a hollow man, forever traumatized by a brush with death. Abraham's planned sacrifice of Isaac is one of the great teaching tales of the Bible, but here it's flipped on its side as we get the boy's terrified perspective. Isaac climbs the mountain with his father in a kind of stupor, knowing Abraham plans to kill him. Emotionally, if not physically dead after the event, Isaac grows into a shattered man: fearful, hypochondriacal, cruel to his wife-in short, nothing like his brave half-brother Ishmael, banished but better in every way. Isaac's own sons, Esau and Jacob, are similar to Isaac and Ishmael. The favorite, Esau, is dull and crude, while Jacob, small and mollycoddled, proves clever and ambitious. Jacob deceives his brother and, upon doing so, flees, fearing revenge. He travels to his mother's people and meets the beautiful, haughty Rachel. Jacob strikes a deal and, after seven years of labor, wins Rachel's hand, but it is her plain, older sister, Leah, he's tricked into marrying. Eventually he marries Rachel, too, and thereafter the two wives make his life miserable. He loves Rachel to distraction but it is only the despised Leah who bears him sons. Finally, Rachel gives birth to Joseph and, as before, the less worthy son becomes the best loved. An elegant, multifaceted discourse on narrative, God and free will, and where the three occasionally meet. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Jenny Diski

Jenny Diski is the author of eight novels and two memoirs: SKATING TO ANTARCTICA and STRANGER ON A TRAIN. She lives in Cambridge.

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