In Antiquities, Lloyd Wilkinson Petrie, one of the seven elderly trustees of the now-defunct (for thirty-four years) Temple Academy for Boys, is preparing a memoir of his days at the school, intertwined with the troubling distractions of events in 1949.
As he navigates, with faltering recall, between the subtle anti-Semitism that pervaded the school's ethos and his fascination with his own family's heritage—in particular, his illustrious cousin, the renowned archaeologist Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie—he reconstructs the passions of a childhood encounter with the oddly named Ben-Zion Elefantin, a mystifying older pupil who claims descent from Egypt's Elephantine Island.
Included alongside this wondrous tale, touched by unsettling irony and with the elusive flavor of a Kafka parable, are four additional stories in Cynthia Ozick's brilliant, distinctive voice, weaving myth and mania, history and illusion: The Coast of New Zealand, The Bloodline of the Alkanas, Sin, and A Hebrew Sibyl.
“A delight. . . . Richly patterned and strongly colored.” —The New York Times
“Ozick’s prose urges the breathless reader along, her love of language rolling excitedly through her sentences like an ocean wave. Ozick’s new novel, Antiquities, moves softly, with a tenderness and quiet intimacy.” —The New York Review of Books
“Indisputable is Ozick’s exquisite artistry in rendering yet another resonant and unsettling tale.” —The Washington Post
“One of our era’s central writers. . . . [Antiquities] is at once a warning against the hazards of nostalgia and an invitation to take a longer view of how we got to where we are.” —The New Yorker
“This slim but by no means slight narrative is as cunning and rich as anything [Ozick has] written.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Age, we want to imagine, is what happens if we are lucky. But the reality is more complex. That is both the subject and the subtext of this novella, which is most resonant, perhaps, in how it never looks away from the slow but steady disintegration that awaits. Lloyd is a flawed and contradictory character, yet his vulnerability becomes its own kind of force.” —Los Angeles Times
“She can sing and she can rant; she can praise and she can castigate. . . . Striking. . . . Masterful.” —The Boston Globe
“Exquisite. . . . Richly layered. . . . Ozick’s imagination is huge, her work passionate, her inquiry urgent.” —The Jewish Review of Books
“In her fascinating new novella, Antiquities, Cynthia Ozick elevates the notion of an unreliable narrator to delightfully confusing new heights. Entertaining as it is at the level of pure storytelling, this fictional whirligig will have you rereading and rethinking to plumb its depths.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A literary national treasure returns with a textured, gripping tale that peels back layers of antisemitism, with echoes of both A Separate Peace and the fiction of Isaac Bashevis Singer.” —O, the Oprah Magazine
“Exquisite. . . . A book as richly layered as an archeological site. . . . Virtuosic at layering words and images, Ozick is also a master of concision—capturing a world of emotion and experience in one short phrase. . . . Ozick’s imagination is huge, her work passionate, her inquiry urgent.” —The Jewish Review of Books
“Critics acclaim Ozick as one of the finest American writers alive today, and the Jewish community can rightly claim her as its own literary laureate. As always, her sentences in Antiquities are meticulous and beautiful.” —Hadassah Magazine
“The famed author ponders the fate of two cultures in her poignant seventh novel. . . . Extraordinary and moving.” —Washington Independent Review of Books
“Antiquities is classic Ozick, marvelous Ozick, Ozick at the height of her powers. She has of course been at the height of her powers for at least 50 years by now, but that only makes her ongoing creativity an even greater gift to those readers lucky enough to encounter it and to give it the attention it boldly demands.” —Moment Mag
“Beguiling. . . . Ozick is adept at capturing the vicissitudes of fading memory or flashes of lucid insight, and she unspools the story at a brisk pace. . . . A fascinating portrait of isolation, memory, and loss.” —Publishers Weekly