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Rachele Luzzato is 12 years old when she learns her father is seriously ill. While her family are looking forward to her Bat-Mitzvah, Rachele’s teachers happen to cast her as the Madonna in the school’s Christmas play. Pulled in opposing directions, Rachele feels the threads of her life begin to untangle.
With the fear of losing her father, various forces compete to guide and take care of Rachele: from her charismatic Jewish grandfather, to her Catholic grandparents on her mother’s side; and even an old teacher who believes the young girl might take solace from a nineteenth-century novel.
These disparate influences ultimately blend in Rachele’s imagination to create a fantasy that transcends the religious and cultural conflicts of her everyday life with one simple hope: to end the loneliness felt by an only daughter.
With great subtlety and tenderness, A.B. Yehoshua paints a portrait of a young girl at the beginning of her journey into adulthood.