Forest Dark

You may remember Dante’s words “Midway upon the journey of our life/I found myself within a forest dark,/For the straightforward pathway had been lost.” In Nicole Krauss’ ( fourth novel, two characters travel to Israel to confront the aridity of their lives. One is a powerful, 68-year-old Manhattan attorney and philanthropist named Jules Epstein. The other is a celebrated novelist on the cusp of 40 named Nicole.


Love, wealth, power, and writing have come to fail them in their separate ways. At the Tel Aviv Hilton, Epstein encounters Rabbi Klausner, a proselytizer of Jewish mysticism, who tries to convince him that he’s a descendant of King David. Meanwhile Eliezer Friedman, a retired literature professor who may have ties to Mossad, insists that Nicole is just the person to write the true story of Franz Kafka’s late life — which he claims did not end with tuberculosis in Prague when he was 40, but continued for decades under a pseudonym in Palestine.


Although interspersed with challenging meditations on metaphysics and the multiverse, Forest Dark is enlivened by its portrait of a scruffy but exciting Israel, and the bizarre Kafkaesque turn that Nicole’s spiritual odyssey takes.  A reflective novel, this will suit some who have drifted into a state of midlife disillusionment. If we read to know we’re not alone, Nicole Krauss may help you out here.


Check if this recent novel is in stock at your local library by consulting the online catalogue at



304 pages in Bloomsbury Publishing

First published 2017

ISBN  978-1408871782


Nicole Krauss

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