I Am Forbidden Most Americans know very little about Hasidic Jews — and virtually nothing about the Satmar, the most insular Hasidic sect. I Am Forbidden follows two… I Am Forbidden Most Americans know very little about Hasidic Jews — and virtually nothing about the Satmar, the most insular Hasidic sect. I Am Forbidden follows two… 2012-05-08 Fiction
Book Review

I Am Forbidden (2012)

'FORBIDDEN' FAMILY Markovits makes her stamp on the literary world with an ambitious, religiously-centered debut
'FORBIDDEN' FAMILY Markovits makes her stamp on the literary world with an ambitious, religiously-centered debut
EW's GRADE
A-

Details Release Date: May 08, 2012; Writer: Anouk Markovits; Genre: Fiction

Most Americans know very little about Hasidic Jews — and virtually nothing about the Satmar, the most insular Hasidic sect. I Am Forbidden follows two Satmar sisters, devout Mila and rebellious Atara, from World War II-era Transylvania to 1960s Paris to modern-day Brooklyn. Once inseparable, the two grow apart as Mila embraces the regimented Satmar community while Atara is ''erased'' from it — until a profoundly heretical secret brings them back together. Markovits' English-language debut is a challenging read. Her spring-loaded prose speeds through decades, continents, and Hasidic rituals, sometimes without waiting for you to catch up. But this ambitious, revelatory novel (which includes a helpful glossary of Yiddish and Hebrew terms) richly rewards your efforts and heralds a promising new writer. A-

Originally posted May 09, 2012 Published in issue #1207 May 18, 2012 Order article reprints