Dara Horn
The World To Come by Dara Horn

The World to Come

Entertainment Weekly Editor’s Choice * New York Times Editor’s Choice * A Book-of-the Month Club Smart Readers Selection * A Book Sense Top 20 Pick * Winner of the 2006 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction

A million-dollar painting by Marc Chagall is stolen from a museum during a singles’ cocktail hour. The unlikely thief is Benjamin Ziskind, a lonely former child prodigy who writes questions for quiz shows and who is sure the painting used to hang on a wall of his parents’ living room. As Ben tries to evade the police, he and his twin sister, Sara, seek out the truth of how the painting got to the museum, whether the original” is actually a forgery, and whether Sara, an artist, can create a convincing forgery to take its place.

Eighty years prior, in the 1920’s in Soviet Russia, Marc Chagall taught art to orphaned Jewish boys. There Chagall befriended the great Yiddish novelist known by the pseudonym Der Nister,” The Hidden One. And there, with the lives of these real artists, the story of the painting begins, carrying with it not only a hidden fable by the Hidden One but also the story of the Ziskind family — from Russia to New Jersey and Vietnam.

Prize-winning author Dara Horn interweaves mystery, romance, folklore, theology, history, and scripture into a spellbinding modern tale. She brings us on a breathtaking collision course of past, present, and future — revealing both the ordinariness and the beauty of the world to come.” Nestling stories within stories, this is a novel of remarkable clarity and deep inner meaning.

Rich, complex and haunting”

The New York Times Book Review (Editor’s Choice)

Horn’s deft touch is often wryly funny — but never maliciously so.… An accomplished work that beautifully explains how families — in all their maddening, smothering, supportive glory — create us.”

Los Angeles Times Book Review

Deeply sympathetic characters, an encyclopedic grasp of 20th-century history and a spiritual sense that sees through the conventional barriers between this life and the one to come — or the one before.”

Washington Post

Symphonic and piercingly beautiful…the novel suspends us between emotions, never allowing any to become predominant, and we hang there in that indeterminate space, perfectly happy, hoping that the book will never end.”


Nothing short of amazing.”

Entertainment Weekly

Brilliantly imagined.”

Wall Street Journal

A deeply satisfying literary mystery and a funny-sad meditation on how the past haunts the present — and how we haunt the future.”


This book is the real thing.”

Chicago Tribune

Each page is a marvel”

San Francisco Chronicle