Praise for Beloved Comrades: a Novel in Stories


Taub.BelovedComrades.Front Cover


Yermiyahu Ahron Taub offers readers the quiet attraction of dedicated devotion even as it comes at the expense of the self. Self-control and self-denial are not contemporary values, and yet, in a world where ascetic life is almost unknown, the characters in Taub’s stories feel new and important.

—Pearl Abraham, author of American Taliban and The Seventh Beggar

Like a cherished heirloom quilt enlarged by each generation in turn, Yermiyahu Ahron Taub’s novel in stories, Beloved Comrades, is greater than the sum of its parts. There is warmth and wisdom within these pages—a multigenerational saga of an Orthodox Jewish community that spans much of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Taub breathes life into a remarkable range of characters through pitch-perfect dialogue and places them in rooms filled with honeyed light and the aroma of fresh baked goods. “Sit down,” he seems to say. “Have some tea and lemon cake. I have stories to tell you.”

—Andrew W. M. Beierle, author of First Person Plural, shortlisted for the 2007 Lambda Literary Award for men’s fiction

In his aptly-titled book, Beloved Comrades, Yermiyahu Ahron Taub cultivates a rich tapestry of interlacing stories, tracing threads of relationship between a small community of Jewish ‘beloveds,’ moving between scenes and generations. His eloquent, nuanced observances of the essential moments, quiet changes, and occasional secrets of daily life make the characters’ ongoing interactions enlivened and vivid. Bringing a generous attentiveness to each story, sentences like this emerge: Sometimes catastrophe only needed a moment to flower—the proverbial tiny chink in an otherwise flawless armor that led to rust and ruin. Like the community Taub describes, Beloved Comrades is a book full of warm, embracing stories woven with heart.

—Elizabeth Heaney, author of award-winning The Honor Was Mine: A Look Inside the Struggles of Military Veterans

Yermiyahu Ahron Taub’s novel in stories is a tender and complex portrait of an Orthodox congregation alternately held together and fractured by its history. What I love about Beloved Comrades is how its many perspectives reveal all of the contradictions of community: the synagogue is at once a refuge and a prison, and its members both embrace and reject tradition as they pursue individual desires that complicate communal ones. In the end, what we see are characters who are defined by their connections even when they run from them, becoming in the process fully and wholly themselves. This is a generous and moving book about the role religious life plays for those whom it sustains, as well as for those whom it drives away.

—Scott Nadelson, author of The Fourth Corner of the World

The true weight of this novel-in-stories sneaks up on you. Each individual story exists in the quotidian, following generations of characters as they address small wants and struggle with personal faults. But the cumulative force of their shared lives comes together to show the true beauty of community, of familial love. You’ll find yourself deeply longing right alongside them, sharing nostalgia for a place you’ve never been.

—Zach Powers, author of First Cosmic Velocity