Two women, centuries apart, work on sacred Jewish scriptures. Helen Watt, an expert historian with a love of Jewish history, is called to verify ancient scrolls that have been discovered hidden below a staircase in an old family house outside London, and Ester Velasquez, a young woman in 1660s London, serves as a scribe for a blind rabbi — a position women were not allowed to assume. Both women are incredibly devoted to their work and the history to which they are indirectly witnesses; however, their choices have come with a cost. In this work of historical fiction, Rachel Kadish has delved into the details of Jewish life in the 17th and 21st centuries, and composed a novel that is testament to the power of the written word.
~ Eight Cousins, Holiday Picks 2017— From Holiday Picks 2017
WINNER OF THE NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD--BOOK CLUB CATEGORY
A USA TODAY BESTSELLER
An intellectual and emotional jigsaw puzzle of a novel for readers of A. S. Byatt's Possession and Geraldine Brooks's People of the Book
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.
As the novel opens, Helen has been summoned by a former student to view a cache of seventeenth-century Jewish documents newly discovered in his home during a renovation. Enlisting the help of Aaron Levy, an American graduate student as impatient as he is charming, and in a race with another fast-moving team of historians, Helen embarks on one last project: to determine the identity of the documents' scribe, the elusive "Aleph."
Electrifying and ambitious, sweeping in scope and intimate in tone, The Weight of Ink is a sophisticated work of historical fiction about women separated by centuries, and the choices and sacrifices they must make in order to reconcile the life of the heart and mind.