The Angel of Losses

Sisters Marjorie and Holly are best friends—until Holly converts to a mysterious Jewish sect and marries a controlling man Marjorie despises. When Holly announces she’s expecting her first child, Marjorie fears that she’s lost her sister forever.

But then Marjorie discovers their late grandfather Eli’s notebook and its tale about a wizard named the White Rebbe and his struggle against the Angel of Losses, protector of the last letter of the alphabet, which completes the secret name of God. Everything Marjorie thought she knew about her family comes undone. To learn the truth, she embarks on an odyssey through time, that will lead her deep into the past and back to the present—and finally Holly, whom she must save from the consequences of Eli’s secrets.

Interweaving history, theology, and both real and imagined Jewish folktales, The Angel of Losses is a family story of what lasts, and of what we can—and cannot—escape.

Praise

Winner of the William L. Crawford Fantasy Award

A Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection

Finalist for the 2015 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award

One of the Washington Post’s Five Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Books of 2014

One of BookRiot’s Best Books of 2014

“Stephanie Feldman writes with tremendous warmth, tenderness and insight, and The Angel of Losses is a smart and beautiful novel that is all at once a literary thriller, a multigenerational family saga and a stunning exploration of Jewish mysticism. I loved this book.” –Molly Antopol, National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Honoree and author of The UnAmericans: Stories

The Angel of Losses feels spun out of myth and legend, but what anchors it so sweetly to the human condition is its profound love, demonstrated between two sisters. This is an amazing, wonderful read.”—Rene Denfeld, author of The Enchanted

“Stephanie Feldman is one of the smartest and most original young writers at work today.  Here she re-imagines the eternally exiled Wandering Jew as a wonderworker, a frightened boy in the Vilna ghetto, a feminist scholar in Coney Island. With a deft understanding of the irreducibility of human relationships, Stephanie leads us through love and loss and back to love again. Watch out for her. She is here to stay.” —Sheri Holman, author of Witches on the Road Tonight and The Dress Lodger

The Angel of Losses is a lovely, complex family story about inheritance, immigration, and faith, with strong Jewish folklore influences and an academic treasure hunt! I tore through it almost in one sitting.”—Sofia Samatar, author of A Stranger in Olondria

“Lucid, tender and masterfully portrayed, The Angel of Losses is an intergenerational story of perseverance and love in a changing world. Rich with Jewish lore and history, there is magic at play here in more than one sense. A must-read.” —G. Willow Wilson, author of Alif the Unseen

“This impressive debut from Feldman is a page-turner that celebrates sisterly love.“ —Publishers Weekly

“This imaginative first novel leads you on a journey of fantastic tales, stormy family ties and a tragic discovery of redemption that will break your heart.” —The Washington Post

“[A] breathtakingly accomplished debut … a story of magic and bold imagining… .Every once in a while a book comes along that reminds us that even though a horror was visited upon a particular people, in a particular place and at particular moment in history, the story told is really about all of us, everywhere and for all time. It takes an extraordinary writer like Stephanie Feldman to bring that story to life.” —NPR

“Stephanie Feldman’s debut novel, The Angel of Losses, is haunting. Even more gripping than the real and imagined folktales that Feldman weaves into the book, however, is her exploration of sisterly rifts and bonds and family secrets shrouded by time.” —Philadelphia Inquirer

“Stephanie Feldman’s first novel is a compelling mix of fable, history and mystery, but at the center, it is a very human story about how families accept one another’s choices while forgiving one another’s mistakes. The Angel of Losses is an ambitious work by a brilliant new author.”—Bookpage

“In her spellbinding debut novel, Stephanie Feldman tells an epic tale of mystery, discovery, and familial love… .[T]he book as a whole hums with the mixture of whimsy and gravitas that only mythology can provide… .Feldman’s debut novel is moving, mature, and deeply original.” —Ploughshares

Figures from Jewish mysticism and mythology, a Russian grandfather’s legacy and the fate of a newborn child entwine in [this] inventive debut.  With its wheeling stars, magical rabbi, disgraced angels, black dogs and European hinterland, Feldman’s novel …has the flavor of Chagall’s visionary art….[and] passionate storytelling and powerful narrative skills.” —Kirkus Reviews

“[F]illed with magic, faith, love, rejection, loyalty, family, secrecy,
loss, and adventure.”—Jewish Book World

“Feldman’s prose is intelligent, engaging, and at times figurative… .The 21st century primary narrative and the White Rebbe stories each have their own appropriate narrative styles, and Feldman’s command of both demonstrates a versatile virtuosity impressive for a debut work.“—New York Journal of Books

This book was amazing. The protagonist, a grad student in literature, uncovers a story scribbled down by her grandfather, and everything starts to unravel. Jewish folklore. Family secrets. Hidden identities. Hidden notebooks. Bitter estrangements. The past–pasts–roaring up to meet the present… It’s beautifully constructed and just plain beautiful. Mark your calendars now, people. Mark them now. ” —BOOKRIOT

“Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman’s debut novel….vivid, imaginative.“ —Booklist

“Feldman’s debut novel is an unusual combination of literary thriller, family drama, and Jewish mysticism … Fans of Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian or the works of Lev Grossman will find something here in a similar vein, but with a little quieter pacing and a little more spirituality.” —Library Journal

“Literary and intelligent.”—Jewish Sound

Named as one of the “Essential Books Coming in 2014” by io9