Rabbi Jeremiah Neumann of Brooklyn is so orthodox that he casts off (actually rending his garment!) his favourite, eldest, daughter, Eva, a surgeon, simply because she lives with and intends to marry, a Catholic. (Though I have the impression – can anyone help me on this? – that he also strongly disapproves of her being a surgeon.)
One day he discovers, quite out of the blue, that he has a brother, an identical twin, and that they were born during the war, in Poland. More than fifty years ago now, they were brought to the U.S. as infants and adopted separately.
Then, to his horror, Jeremiah learns that his bother is a Catholic priest.
Jeremiah is sure, of course, that they are both Jews, born of Jewish parents. Why else would they have been persecuted in war-time Poland? Isaiah, the brother, is not convinced.
Eventually, they go to Poland in seach of their roots, and the story warms up.
Not bad, but I found Jeremiah impossible to sympathise with, and Isaiah almost as bad. The only character in the book I identified with was Eva, but despite hints about her life – the only thing that kept me reading – she never assumes a central role, is always only there in the background – at least until the closing chapters.
A shame. A book focussing on her I would really have enjoyed. Still, the book as it stands is well written and, I am sure, will appeal to many readers.