Book Club: Rav Hisda’s Daughter, Book 1
BCC’s next book club will take place Sunday, November 24, at 10:00 am. We’ll discuss Rav Hisda’s Daughter, Book 1: Apprentice: A Novel of Love, the Talmud & Sorcery, by Maggie Anton, a/k/a BCC member Maggie Parkhurst
Maggie Anton’s new novel got its start from an unusual story in the Talmud. This time, the author’s central character tells her story in the first person: the independent-minded and clever Hisdadukh, youngest child of Talmudic sage Rav Hisda. Set nearly a thousand years earlier than her first trilogy, the novel transports us to 3rd Century CE Babylonia, where even pious Jews dabbled in sorcery.
A fourth-century rabbi brings his daughter up in front of his class and asks her which of two students she wanted to marry.
“Both of them,” the girl, identified only as Rav Hisda’s daughter, says.
Instead of the girl being punished for her audacity, the Talmud is clearly pleased with her answer, said Anton during a phone interview. And in fact, it goes on to say, that’s exactly what happens.
“It’s such a bizarre story. It just begs you to say, ‘What is going on here?'” said Anton, the award-winning author of the “Rashi’s Daughters” trilogy. “I couldn’t forget her story.”