The Book of Stone by Jonathan Papernick

The Book of Stone
by Jonathan Papernick
ISBN: 978-1-94149-304-5

From the very first page, the author enfolds the reader in a sensory gauze of descriptive words—“rooftop water tanks hunched like things about to spring.” 

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“. . . a riveting read.”

The excellent techniques of foreshadowing and foreboding take the reader on an emotional rollercoaster ride as painful to reader as it is to the main character, Matthew Stone.  Stone’s assumptions and self-delusions, based on half-truths about his father’s life, haunt his decisions. Matthew grasps at the “what if” fictions, not the “what is” realities.

In the confusion following his father’s death, Stone strives to redeem himself from long-standing estrangement from his father, and to embrace his Jewish heritage. Matthew finds solace at several points along the way–in his father’s notated books, stories from his father’s friends, his grandfather’s notorious reputation as a gangster, and his father’s business partner who serves as a longed-for father figure.

Matthew struggles with many conflicts: political vs. personal, religious vs. familial, loyalties vs. betrayals, and love against fear. The reappearance of his mother who abandoned him early in life, the disappointment on the face of his dying father, his father’s business partner who connives to steal Stone’s inheritance while pretending to lead him back to his Jewish history—all drive Stone to attempt to restore his heritage, history and family by becoming an accomplice in a terrorist plot to kill Arabs on American soil.

Attempting to live up to his father’s reputation as a gifted (but disgraced) judge, and grandfather’s successes Matthew becomes obsessed to create a world he believes should exist. He follows his father’s axiom: violence is morally legitimate and is a path for protecting the Jewish heritage. Stone’s participation in a terrorist group is a way for the son to rejoin the father and make reparations. Tensions between loyalties and betrayals make the book a riveting read.

Reviewer: C. L. Collins