I Am Forbidden
An extraordinary literary debut about three generations of women that takes us from pre-World War Two Transylvania via Paris and England to present-day New York.
Sisters Atara and Mila were born at the onset of the Second World War into a deeply insular, ultra-orthodox Jewish sect. As the girls grow up, Mila finds she is content to live within the constraints and familiarity of the world she’s always known, but Atara is consumed by questions – about arranged marriage, the education of girls, the circumstances surrounding the escape of the sect’s leader during the war. Finally forced apart by the rules of the community, the two women are brought together again when a family secret threatens to make pariahs of them all.
I Am Forbidden is a powerful portrayal of sisters, family, faith and history which sweeps the reader from pre-war Transylvania to present-day New York, via Paris and England. Immersive, beautiful, moving, it exposes in devastating detail what happens when unwavering love, unyielding law and centuries of tradition collide.
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"In portraying it, Markovits aims not to slander the faith or its followers, but to remind us of who we are, at our best - and warn us of what we could become, at our worst."
- SA Jewish Report
"An intimate and affectionate exposure of the clandestine and reverential world of the stringent Hasidic sect, the Satmar. This powerful story offers an exclusive peek inside the homes of Hasidic families and their inner and outer struggle to hold on to their beliefs in a relentlessly shifting world."