Richard Zimler

Richard Zimler

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Richard Zimler was born in Roslyn Heights, a suburb of New York City, in 1956. After earning a bachelor's degree in comparative religion from Duke University (1977) and a master's degree in journalism from Stanford University (1982), he worked for eight years as a journalist, mainly in the San Francisco Bay area. In 1990, he moved to Porto, Portugal, where he taught journalism for sixteen years, first at the College of Journalism and later at the University of Porto. In 2017, the city of Porto awarded Zimler its highest distinction, the Medal of Honor. At the ceremony, Porto's mayor described the novelist as "a citizen of Porto who was born far away, who makes the city greater and grander... Zimler projects Porto out into the world and brings the rest of the world to us." Zimler's new novel, The Incandescent Threads, will be published in the UK and Ireland on July 4, 2022. It will come out in the USA and Canada on November 7. Here is a brief synopsis of the novel: From the acclaimed author of The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon and The Warsaw Anagrams comes an unforgettable, deeply moving ode to solidarity, heroism and the kind of love capable of overcoming humanity’s greatest horror... Benjamin Zarco and his cousin Shelly are the only two members of their family to survive the Holocaust. In the decades since, each man has learned, in his own unique way, to carry the burden of having outlived all the others, while ever wondering why he was spared. Saved by a kindly piano teacher who hid him as a child, Benni suppresses the past entirely and becomes obsessed with studying Kabbalah in search of the ‘Incandescent Threads’ – nearly invisible fibers that he believes link everything in the universe across space and time. But his mystical beliefs are tested when the birth of his son brings the ghosts of the past to his doorstep. Meanwhile, Shelly – devastatingly handsome, charming and exuberantly bisexual – comes to believe that pleasures of the flesh are his only escape, and takes every opportunity to indulge his desires. That is, until he begins a relationship with a profoundly traumatised Canadian soldier and artist who helped to liberate Bergen-Belsen – and might just be connected to one of the cousins’ departed kin. Across six non-linear mosaic pieces, we move from a Poland decimated by World War II to modern-day New York and Boston, hearing friends and relatives of Benni and Shelly's tell of the deep influence of the beloved cousins on their lives. For within these intimate testimonies may lie the key to why they were saved and the unique bond that unites them. ***** Zimler has published 12 novels over the last 24 years. In chronological order, they are: The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon, Unholy Ghosts, The Angelic Darkness, Hunting Midnight, Guardian of the Dawn, The Search for Sana, The Seventh Gate, The Warsaw Anagrams, Teresa Island (only in Portugal and Brazil), The Night Watchman, The Lost Gospel of Lazarus (previous title: The Gospel According to Lazarus) and The Incandescent Threads. His novels have appeared on bestseller lists in 12 different countries, including the United States, the UK, Portugal, Italy, Brazil and Australia. His books have been published in 23 languages and five of them have been nominated for the prestigious International Dublin Literary Award. Zimler has also published six children's books in Portugal. In 2018, one of them, "The Dog Who Ate Raindrops," was awarded the most important children's book prize in the country - the Bissaya-Barreto Prize. He writes his children's books in Portuguese and his novels in English. Zimler has won numerous other awards for his work, including the Marquis de Ouro Prize in 2010 - as Book of the Year in Portugal - for The Warsaw Anagrams. This prize is voted on by high school teachers and students. He also won the 2009 Alberto Benveniste Prize in Fiction for Guardian of the Dawn (for best Jewish-themed novel published in France), and the 1998 Herodotus Award, for The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon (Best Historical Novel). Additionally, The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon was picked as 1998 Book of the Year by three British critics. Hunting Midnight, The Search for Sana, The Seventh Gate, The Warsaw Anagrams and The Night Watchman have all been nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award, the most lucrative book prize in the English-speaking world. He was also granted a 1994 U.S. National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Fiction. The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon, Hunting Midnight, Guardian of the Dawn, The Seventh Gate and Zimler's new novel, The Incandescent Threads, form the "Sephardic Cycle," a group of inter-connected - but fully independent - novels about different branches and generations of a Portuguese Jewish family, the Zarcos. Each of the books is meant to stand alone. Here are links to Portuguese reviews and Interviews about The Incandescent Threads (Ctrl + click to follow link) Review in the Açoriano Oriental: Interview on RTP1 (Portuguese television) Interview on RTP3 (television) Interview in Diário de Notícias Interview in Jornal de Noticias Press Quotes from Portugal about The Incandescent Threads Rarely is a novel published that evidences such extraordinary literary talent. Each character reveals different facets of our own humanity. AN ABSOLUTE MASTERPIECE. Açoriano Oriental A novel that serves to preserve the important memories of Holocaust survivors, with deep, moving characters and an enormous emotional charge. Time Out Although he writes about the Holocaust, Zimler focuses on their survival afterward in six magnificent narratives that are tied together by absolutely wonderful characters. Diário de Notícias Benni and Shelly Zarco, cousins who carry their guilt for having survived the Holocaust, are unforgettable characters (and) Zimler invests them with an extraordinary emotional depth. Jornal de Notícias A beautifully intricate and interwoven novel about how to go on living after the Holocaust – and most poignantly, about how to cope with the guilt of having survived. Zimler writes poetically throughout, and his extremely compelling narrative also serves to alert readers to current threats. O Público Richard's website is:
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