I AM FORBIDDEN

Anouk Markovits

Sweeping from the Central European countryside just before World War II to Paris to contemporary Williamsburg, Brooklyn, I Am Forbidden brings to life four generations of one Satmar family.

Opening in 1939 Transylvania, five-year-old Josef witnesses the murder of his family by the Romanian Iron Guard and is rescued by a Gentile maid to be raised as her own son. Five years later, Josef rescues a young girl, Mila, after her parents are killed while running to meet the Rebbe they hoped would save them. Josef helps Mila reach Zalman Stern, a leader in the Satmar community, in whose home Mila is raised as a sister to Zalman’s daughter,

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Sweeping from the Central European countryside just before World War II to Paris to contemporary Williamsburg, Brooklyn, I Am Forbidden brings to life four generations of one Satmar family.

Opening in 1939 Transylvania, five-year-old Josef witnesses the murder of his family by the Romanian Iron Guard and is rescued by a Gentile maid to be raised as her own son. Five years later, Josef rescues a young girl, Mila, after her parents are killed while running to meet the Rebbe they hoped would save them. Josef helps Mila reach Zalman Stern, a leader in the Satmar community, in whose home Mila is raised as a sister to Zalman’s daughter, Atara. As the two girls mature, Mila’s faith intensifies, while her beloved sister Atara discovers a world of books and learning that she cannot ignore. With the rise of communism in central Europe, the family moves to Paris, to the Marais, where Zalman tries to raise his children apart from the city in which they live.

When the two girls come of age, Mila marries within the faith, while Atara continues to question fundamentalist doctrine. The different choices the two sisters makes force them apart until a dangerous secret threatens to banish them from the only community they’ve ever known.

A beautifully crafted, emotionally gripping story of what happens when unwavering love, unyielding law, and centuries of tradition collide, I Am Forbidden announces the arrival of an extraordinarily gifted new voice and opens a startling window on a world long closed to most of us, until now.

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  • Hogarth
  • Hardcover
  • May 2012
  • 320 Pages
  • 9780307984739

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$25.00

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About Anouk Markovits

Anouk Markovits was raised in France. She attended a religious seminary in lieu of high school. After she left home at the age of nineteen to avoid an arranged marriage, she attended Columbia University’s School of General Studies and graduated with a Bachelor of Science. She has a Masters degree in architecture from Harvard, and a Ph.D. in Romance studies from Cornell. Her first novel, Pur Coton, written in French, was published by Gallimard.

Praise

I Am Forbidden whips by, its extravagant narrative steadily cast with complicated, thoughtful characters.”Susannah Meadows, The New York Times

“Markovits makes her stamp on the literary world with an ambitious, religiously-centered debut. [T]his ambitious, revelatory novel richly rewards your efforts and heralds a promising new writer.”Entertainment Weekly

“A captivating tale.”People

“Markovits’s heroines are disenfranchised but resourceful, possessing an innate spirituality, despite, or perhaps because of, the freedom denied them.”New Yorker