OUR LITTLE HISTORIES
When museum currator Jenifer Greenberg-Wu is approached by Belarusian tycoon Maxim Pranovitch to create a Reality show involving “Jewish people living their Jewish lives” she takes up the challenge, calling on her Israeli relative, Nadav Markovitch and his family to move into a glass walled house where they will enact Jewish practice before an audience of spectators.
Six generations earlier in a remote village in Belarus, Jennifer and Nadav’s ancestor, Raizel Shulman needs to find a way to save her three young sons from being drafted into the Czar’s army.
This is the story of what happened over those six generations.
In seven episodes, moving backwards through the tumult of the 19th and 20th centuries, Raziel’s descendants make fateful choices as they struggle to reconcile their identity, their dreams and the constraints of their time and place. Their stories play out on a reality set in rural Belarus, 1960’s Tel Aviv, a pre-independence kibbutz, 1930’s Chicago, pre-war Vilna, turn of the century Minsk, and finally, to the tiny shtetl of Prepoisk, not as a single overriding narrative, but as a collection of small, intimate histories.
Praise for Our Little Histories
Our Little Histories is historical fiction at its finest and most original. Like the very best and most engaging books, this one is always on the move, full of surprising and stunning twists in tone and storytelling, each chapter revealing new remarkable characters and profound thoughts, ones that will reshape and enrich your understanding of Jewish history. Through intimate, innovative, and absorbing prose, Weizman steadily and brilliantly guides the reader backward through modern Jewish history, prompting the reader to consider how the family stories most hidden from us are ultimately the ones that prove most impactful in shaping our own little histories.
—Avner Landes, author of Meiselman: The Lean Years
Our Little Histories will leave you breathless. Intriguing, moving, formally inventive, and gorgeously written, this sweeping novel, which traces a fractured branch of a Jewish family, comes together like a jigsaw puzzle, one riveting piece following another. When the last piece snaps into place, the reader is left with a heartbreaking picture of what it means to be human — that is, to play a small, often unknown, role in a tremendous story.
—Jessamyn Hope, author of Safekeeping
In Our Little Histories, Janice Weizman ingeniously spans 165 years in the life of a single extended family thorough individual stories that are funny and sad, moving and eloquent, brilliantly told. From Chicago to Tel Aviv, Vilna to Belarus, Our Little Histories is a masterful sweep through Jewish time that entertains and enlightens without ever losing sight of its heart. A wonderful novel of love and loss and the enduring ties that bind.
—Joan Leegant author of An Hour in Paradise: Stories and Wherever You Go: A Novel.