Horn, Dara 1977–
Horn, Dara 1977–
CAREER: Writer and educator. Worked for Newsweek, Time, and New Republic; teacher at Harvard University and Sarah Lawrence College. Lecturer at universities and institutions.
AWARDS, HONORS: Edward Lewis Wallant Award, San Francisco Chronicle best book designation, and Top Five Novels of the Year designation, Christian Science Monitor, all 2002, and National Jewish Book award, and Reform Judaism Fiction Prize, both 2003, all for In the Image.
In the Image (novel), W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 2002.
The World to Come (novel), W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 2006.
SIDELIGHTS: Dara Horn is a scholar of Hebrew and Yiddish literature, and also the author of In the Image, a novel set in New Jersey. The protagonist, Leora, loses her best friend, Naomi, who is killed in a hit-and-run accident. Leora goes to college, falls in love, falls out of love, and is contacted by Naomi's grandfather, Bill, who grew up in Vienna and fled the Nazis.
One of the recurring themes in the story is the dollhouse collection in the Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands. David Gelernter wrote in Commentary that these dollhouses "are not toys but artworks—and the novel itself is a kind of artwork dollhouse, a lovingly constructed microcosm. Its pieces fit together with a fine inevitability, and you encounter meticulously crafted surprises along the way." Gelernter concluded, "As in other dollhouse artworks, the structure itself is more important than the characters that live there. But the structure has a strange, compelling, romantic fascination."
In Horn's second novel, The World to Come, Benjamin Ziskind steals a Marc Chagall sketch from the wall of a New York museum while attending a singles function. Ben recognizes it from his childhood as a gift from Chagall to his grandfather, one of the Jewish boys Chagall taught in a Soviet orphanage during the 1920s. The story follows the history of the sketch from that time to the present, as well as three generations of the Ziskind family. As Ben evades pursuit by Erica Frank, a museum staffer, he is aided by his twin sister, Sara, herself an artist. In a review of the novel for Booklist, contributor Allison Block described The World to Come as "a compelling collage of history, mystery, theology, and scripture … a narrative tour de force crackling with conundrums and dark truths."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August, 2002, Bryce Christensen, review of In the Image, p. 1921; September 15, 2005, Allison Block, review of The World to Come, p. 32.
Christian Science Monitor, September 12, 2002, review of In the Image, p. 16.
Commentary, December, 2002, David Gelernter, review of In the Image, p. 72.
Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2002, review of In the Image, p. 828; September 15, 2005, review of The World to Come, p. 994.
Library Journal, September 1, 2002, Maureen Neville, review of In the Image, p. 214.
New York Times Book Review, November 24, 2002, Alix Wilber, review of In the Image, p. 32.
Publishers Weekly, August 26, 2002, review of In the Image, p. 45.
Dara Horn Home Page, http://www.darahorn.com (November 14, 2005).
Jewish Woman Online, http://www.jwmag.org/ (November 14, 2005), Sandee Brawarsky, review of In the Image, interview with Horn.
W.W. Norton Web site, http://www.wwnorton.com/ (November 14, 2005), "A Conversation with Dara Horn."