What book made you grow? Jeffrey Sachs

What book made you grow? Jeffrey Sachs

October 14, 2021

What book made you grow?

Dr. Jeffrey Sachs

Instructor, Politics and History & Classics, Acadia University

The Messiah of Stockholm by Cynthia Ozick

What does it mean for a book to help one to grow? I’m not sure I know. Certainly this is a book that, in the years since I first read it, I find myself thinking about again and again. It is very thin; you can read it in an afternoon. And not much happens in particular. A man, who is possibly mad, believes he is the son of a famous author who perished in the Holocaust. One day, a manuscript purportedly by his dead father arrives at his door. It is a copy of his unpublished masterpiece (or is it?) that everyone thought was lost. What happens next involves obsession, frustration, anger, and of course doubt.

This is a book about what happens to people when they cannot escape the past, which makes it a strange answer to a question about personal growth. But maybe that’s its value: to show what happens to a human life when growth is no longer an option.

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