Book Review: The World to Come by Dara Horn

I've got to tell you that I'm a sucker for novels that fictionalize the story of well known artists, writers, musicians, etc. I loved The Girl with the Pearl Earring and The Girl in Hyacinth Blue. So, I was drawn to this book, since it revolves around one of the paintings of Marc Chagall.

The World to Come opens with the main character stealing a Marc Chagall painting from a museum. It continues with this story, but jumps to many other characters' stories and soon you understand that these peoples' lives are all intertwined. They all play an important role in how this painting came to be where it is. The history of this painting is all very interesting, as are the many Yiddish folktales that the author has sprinkled throughout the book. These give some depth to the book, but also are great asides in themselves.

I thought that the book was very imaginative and random. Some may think that it might be better if the author didn't go off on so many tangents, but I really liked this. I thought the last chapter was brilliant, and I would read it again just for the ending. I know it has been compared to The History of Love, but I didn't feel like there was much to compare. I loved both of these books for different reasons.

I think this might make a good read for a book group, if your group is a little bit artsy. It was really very clean and had many subjects that could be discussed (a big one being where we came from and where we go after this life).

My Rating

Overall: 4.5 stars. I loved the stories. I loved the author's imagination. I would give it 5 stars for sure if I had felt a little bit closer to the characters.

Objectionable Content: There were a handful of swear words throughout the book.


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