The prologue for the powerful novel Contradictions begins on Nov. 9, 1938 in Berlin, Germany, on the afternoon before Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass. The story flashes forward to 1980, when Rachel, a young Jewish woman at the beginning of her academic career and the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, has recently been hired as the first female assistant professor of American history at a prominent East Coast university. Eric, a sociology professor with a penchant for smart young women, is serving as her mentor, guiding Rachel’s research agenda and helping her understand the dynamics of the academic community. As Rachel’s personal relationship with Eric grows, she begins to come to terms with her religious and cultural past. The recounting of a brutal rape serves as a metaphorical relationship to the Holocaust and its continued impact on Jewish life. Contradictions challenges the power of narrative to remake history, ultimately questioning the role of memory and storytelling in our understanding of the past.
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