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The Jewel Trader of Pegu


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About the Author

Jeffrey Hantover has written extensively on social issues, art, and culture for international publications, and his poetry has been published in several U.S. literary journals. He lived in Hong Kong for more than a decade and resides with his wife in New York City.


Fleeing memories of his dead wife, a young Jewish jewel trader abandons 16th-century Venice for the sensuous and politically unstable Burmese kingdom of Pegu. A debut from a veteran journalist who has written frequently about Asia; with a reading group guide. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Jewish jewel trader Abraham, a widower at 28, leaves Venice in 1598 for Pegu, a Burmese kingdom halfway around the world, where he is to settle and acquire high-quality gems for the family business. In his letters home, which comprise much of the novel, Abraham, liberated from the ghetto, delights in the freedom to walk when and where he will, but soon discovers that foreigners are expected to perform a specific service to bring luck to the marriages of young brides, one that is forbidden by Jewish law. His relationship with a young woman, Mya, expands his views, and he develops deep friendships with several other locals. As political unrest grows in the area, however, Abraham is forced to choose between his feelings for Mya and his certainty that the world does not have a place for their love. Making his fiction debut, Hantover intercuts Abraham's letters with short chapters from Mya's point of view with delicacy and grace. He evokes the lush setting and gives clear voice to Abraham's doubts, fears and passions. (Jan.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"[Readers] will be swept away by Hantover's lavish descriptions of an exotic, lost Asian kingdom; the gentle love story; and the tale of one man's thoughtful journey to his heart's home."--Booklist
"A journey to the center of the heart . . . a beautiful story of love overcoming obstacles . . . [R]eaders are treated to a long look at the interior landscape of a man of faith whose world is shaken by the power of unexpected love."--BookPage

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