The violence between Israelis and Palestinians is once again in the forefront of the news. Those who support Israel see themselves defending it against the prophesied destruction of the nation and the Jewish people. Palestinian supporters witness for a people who have been denied the basic human need for dignity and statehood. The dualism is stark.
I live in a city of candles. At one end of Main Street, there’s a little jewel box of a shop that sells pure beeswax candles along with aromatherapy supplies, bath salts and hand-milled soaps that promise to impart an aura of serenity to the mundane affairs of the daily toilet. A few doors down, perfumed candles fill the New Age bookstore with the scent of generic spirituality.
With each novel, Ron Hansen takes considerable risks, whether in exploring new geographical and cultural settings, modeling characters on historical figures or probing the depths of religious experience.
In 1492, the Jews were expelled from Spain. For centuries they had been tolerated there, and their labor had helped to build a great country. But King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, anxious to establish their hold over a newly united Spain by means of the Catholic Church and the Inquisition, gave the Jews a stark choice: they must be baptized or flee.
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