Yellin, Tamar 1963–
Yellin, Tamar 1963–
PERSONAL: Born 1963, in Leeds, England; married Bob Tasker. Education: Graduated from Oxford University.
CAREER: Writer. Worked variously as a supermarket clerk, primary school teacher, college lecturer in Judaism, and Jewish faith advisor to schools.
The Genizah at the House of Shepher, Toby Press (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor to periodicals, including London, Stand, Jewish Quarterly, Panurge, Writing Women, Metropolitan, Leviathan Quarterly, Iron, Third Alternative, Big Issue, Staple, and Nemonymous. Contributor to anthologies, including Slow Mirror and Other Stories: New Fiction by Jewish Writers, edited by Sonja Lyndon and Sylvia Paskin, Five Leaves (Nottingham, England), 1996; Leviathan 3, edited by Jeff Vandermeer, Prime Books (Holicong, PA), 2002; Mordecai's First Brush with Love: New Stories by Jewish Women in Britain, edited by Laura Phillips and Marion Baraitser, Loki Press (London, England), 2004; and Best Short Stories.
SIDELIGHTS: Author Tamar Yellin studied Hebrew at Oxford University and began publishing short stories in respected literary journals at age thirty. Her first novel, however, was fifteen years in the making. The story behind The Genizah at the House of Shepher began in 1987, when Yellin, then age twenty-four, traveled from her native England to her grandparents' Jerusalem home for a final visit before the building's scheduled demolition. Hidden in the attic among an impressive collection of historical papers was a notebook, missing since 1915, that proved to be of vital importance in recreating an ancient Biblical text lost in a 1947 fire. Yellin soon began work on a fictional narrative based on nearly 150 years of her family's history, a project that took until 2005 to complete and publish. In an interview with Yorkshire Post Today reporter Sheena Hastings, Yellin remarked, "I wish the book hadn't taken up so much of my life, but nor was I ever going to give up on it."
In a review for Booklist, Debi Lewis called Yellin's debut novel "impossible to put down," adding that the book's story is infused with "beauty, deep love, and a timelessness that will likely make it a classic." A contributor to Publishers Weekly called the work "novel is warm and engrossing, rich with historical detail and unmet yearning." Library Journal reviewer Molly Abramowitz remarked that, "Filled with myth, mystery, and history, this novel gives the flavor of Jerusalem neighborhoods through the modern era." A Kirkus Reviews contributor described the book as "a warmly portrayed, densely researched fictional history of a scattered Jewish clan migrated to Jerusalem" and "a fascinating, labyrinthine journey."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 1, 2005, Debi Lewis, review of The Genizah at the House of Shepher, p. 1143.
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2005, review of The Genizah at the House of Shepher, p. 82.
Library Journal, March 1, 2005, Molly Abramowitz, review of The Genizah at the House of Shepher, p. 81.
Publishers Weekly, February 7, 2005, review of The Genizah at the House of Shepher, p. 38.
Fantastic Metropolis, http://www.fantasticmetropolis.com/ (October 17, 2005), author interview.
Tamar Yellin Home Page, http://www.tamaryellin.com (June 22, 2005).
Yorkshire Post Today Online, http://www.yorkshire today.co.uk/ (May 4, 2005), Sheena Hastings, "A Secret in the Attic and a Mystery That Spans the Years."