The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish is about a scribe from the 1660s and the historians – Helen and Aaron- who are translating the writing of the scribe found in the 2000s. Ester has been living in the London home of Rabbi Moseh HaCoen Mendes, who was a real historical figure. Part of the book is told from her point of view.
Some of the things about Rabbie HaCoen Mendes are based on facts but I cannot say that everything about him is true. In the book, he is blind and needs a scribe to write all of his correspondence.
I really enjoyed the mashup of past and present. Sometimes it is so confusing when authors combined history and current times. However, I thought that Kadish blended everything perfectly.
We learn quite a bit about Helen, who was in love with a Jewish man in the past and still has a love of Jewish history. She is ill but she wants to finish this last project before retiring. Helen seems very standoffish but it makes more sense by the end.
Anyone who likes Jewish historical fiction or historical fiction in general will love this book. There were some parts, especially the letters from the scribe to other rabbis, that need a 2nd or 3rd read through. The subject matter was pretty involved. I would suggest to just keep reading and you’ll make it through to the end. It is worthwhile to find out what happened to Ester and Helen.
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