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Publisher's Summary

The award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of The History of Love conjures an achingly beautiful and breathtakingly original novel about personal transformation that interweaves the stories of two disparate individuals - an older lawyer and a young novelist - whose transcendental search leads them to the same Israeli desert.

Jules Epstein, a man whose drive, avidity, and outsize personality have, for 68 years, been a force to be reckoned with, is undergoing a metamorphosis. In the wake of his parents' deaths, his divorce from his wife of more than 30 years, and his retirement from the New York legal firm where he was a partner, he's felt an irresistible need to give away his possessions, alarming his children and perplexing the executor of his estate. With the last of his wealth, he travels to Israel with a nebulous plan to do something to honor his parents. In Tel Aviv, he is sidetracked by a charismatic American rabbi planning a reunion for the descendants of King David who insists that Epstein is part of that storied dynastic line. He also meets the rabbi's beautiful daughter, who convinces Epstein to become involved in her own project - a film about the life of David being shot in the desert - with life-changing consequences.

But Epstein isn't the only seeker embarking on a metaphysical journey that dissolves his sense of self, place, and history. Leaving her family in Brooklyn, a young, well-known novelist arrives at the Tel Aviv Hilton, where she has stayed every year since birth. Troubled by writer's block and a failing marriage, she hopes that the hotel can unlock a dimension of reality - and her own perception of life - that has been closed off to her. But when she meets a retired literature professor who proposes a project she can't turn down, she's drawn into a mystery that alters her life in ways she could never have imagined.

Bursting with life and humor, Forest Dark is a profound, mesmerizing novel of metamorphosis and self-realization - of looking beyond all that is visible toward the infinite.

©2017 Nicole Krauss (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"A brilliant novel. I am full of admiration." (Philip Roth)

"One of America's most important novelists." (The New York Times)

"Narrator Gabra Zackman's voice is a confident, centered presence in Krauss's esoteric audiobook.... Zackman, as the voice of these thoughts, guides listeners with a skilled narration that complements Krauss's audiobook." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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immediate Re-read

Narration moving and non-intrusive to my imaginstion.
Within 90 seconds of completing this audio book, I began it again. I have so much to re-think and to move through the Torah, secular literature, my life experiences, and what Nicole Kraus leaves to me to sense.
This author is so intimate in her own self evaluation. I was so lucky to hear it between Rosh haShana and Yom Kippur.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Terry Pristin

Very disappointing. Unappealing characters, boring story. Dull writing. I expected more from this well-known author.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not for me

I loved Great House and The History of Love, and was excited about Nicole Krauss's new book. She's a really good writer, but I'm quitting on this about halfway through. My problem with this book is that every so often, the plot stops cold and we go through heavy philosophical and theological discussions. It interrupted the flow of the book for me, and I found myself getting irritated and impatient. It might work fine for a reader more interested in these matters. I don't find the characters interesting enough to overcome this issue.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

A really tough book to get through

This was one of those novels that if I were not compelled to finish it for book club - I would not have finished it. I downloaded the Audible version only because I couldn't stand reading it, and preferred to listen to it while doing some other mindless tasks. That said, the narration was pretty good, and allowed me to get through this novel to its inconclusive ending. The book was just not for me, or anyone else in my book club, and narration certainly helped me get through it.

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Author got in my way

If you are really interested in Jewish mysticism, by all means, read this book. I gave it a serious try and slogged through the first 25% of it. There’s an interesting billionaire who starts giving all his money and art away – I wanted to know what happened to him, but every time the story gets going, Kraus interjects some wandering narrative about Jewish mysticism that breaks the story’s momentum and bores the reader to death. I won’t say more since I couldn’t finish this book. I tried, but the author kept getting in my way.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

dissapointing

I was very much looking forward to this book. But I have to say I much more enjoyed other books by Nicole Krauss. Somhow it was too illusive, too vague, the story gets lost in the philosophical divagations. Still, it's very well written and read.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Worst Audible reader ever

Would you try another book from Nicole Krauss and/or Gabra Zackman?

Never will I listen to Gabra Zackman again. I would read more by Nicole Krauss.

Would you recommend Forest Dark to your friends? Why or why not?

I would recommend that they read a hard copy and not listen to Zackman.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Shockingly horrible tic--Zackman begins virtually every sentence with a bad case of vocal fry in a lower, nasal register voice and segues in same sentence into a normal voice. This tic ruined the book for me. I bought a hard copy and will finish it.

Any additional comments?

Listen to Zackman's reading and you will fire her immediately.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not like other Krauss books

The performance/ reading was wonderful and enjoyable. The story, not so much. I was disappointed.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great book, poor performance

I love Nivle Krauss' work, still need to ponder this one a little and review the different connections between the plotlines. The performance was disappointing tough, there are a lot of mistakes in the Hebrew pronunciation and the reader's voice sounds mechanical when she dubbs some of the characters.

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Interesting story line.... wanted more

this is my first read of the author. I'm going to read "the history of love" and compare. I wish she developed more of the story lines.