Review: Alice Hoffman’s “The Dovekeepers”

by writereaderly

alice hoffman the dovekeepersI admit that I had my doubts. I’m definitely not a fan of the “woe is me, I’m Jewish” school of culture, so I only took this book home because of Toni Morrison’s rave review on the cover. And thank heaven, they paid off. This mighty book is the story of the (historical) siege of the mountain fortress of Masada in 74 AD, when the Romans took out the last remaining Jewish stronghold in Judea. The hidden 900 rebel warriors and their families chose mass suicide rather than capture, with only two women and five children surviving. Hoffman beautifully unfolds the lives of four women in the fortress, with a great wealth of historical and cultural information embedded in the telling. Nearly unputdownable, this is just an excellent novel. Its only flaw was that the voices of the four narrators were indistinguishable from each other, a (gorgeous) chorus of survival and sorrow only separated by diverse life histories. Nonetheless, a great book and highly recommended.

Where it came from: Opshop
Time and manner of reading: One bed-read, then two evenings of utterly gripped armchair reads
Where it went: ???
Reminds me of/that:
Who I’d recommend it to: Readers after a good fatty, particularly those seeking the Strong Women in Antiquity genre
Also reading: Being Alive edited by Neil Astley; The Politics of Ecstasy by Timothy Leary; Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier