The Book of Jonah

Among the biblical stories that most capture childhood imagination, Jonah's three days in the belly of a whale is near the top. However, Jonah's story is more about faith, doubt, obedience and redemption than just another hard-to-swallow miracle. In Joshua Max Feldman's loose retelling in The Book of Jonah, Jonah Jacobstein is a young New York City lawyer on a partnership track, romantically entangled with both his future fianceé and an off-again, on-again girlfriend. Then visions of the city sinking underwater and his fellow citizens walking about naked upend his success and take him on a journey into self-doubt and self-discovery.

In a twinge of conscience, Jonah leaks some of his firm's confidential documents and is fired. Relationships with both girlfriends broken, he heads to Amsterdam, where he has a brief encounter with troubled, enigmatic and energetic Judith--eventually leading him to the evangelical churches of Las Vegas, where he seeks to right a wrong he has done her.

Feldman captures the contemporary New York zeitgeist but also effectively tackles questions of biblical proportions: How can we live in a world we can't comprehend? How can we serve a God whose will we can't understand? If chasing success in Manhattan is the whale in Feldman's version of the Jonah story, escaping the city ultimately provides some small understanding; standing in the Nevada sun, "a shadow was cast across Jonah's face--and in the cool of this shadow Jonah felt a final mercy." --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

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