Hunting Midnight – Richard Zimler

Hunting Midnight is a gripping historical fiction set in the early nineteenth century in Portugal.  A young boy is in ignorance of his Jewish heritage due to centuries of persecution against Jews across the Iberian Peninsula.  John  Zarco Stewart lives happily, greatly loved by his mother and father in the community of secret Jews.   The boy is hot-headed, impetuous, often in trouble and very likeable.  The reader follows John’s growth to manhood; sharing in the highs and the lows of his life.  John’s father returns from an overseas voyage with a mystical African stranger, Midnight who is a magical, loving, storyteller.  Midnight becomes John’s close companion and a loving and inseparable friendship develops between the boy and the African.

The Stewart family dynamics disintegrates; Midnight is gone, his parents’ marriage is in turmoil and John is devastated.  Eventually he desperately searches in the USA for his friend.  Old friendships will change and new friendships will form.  John’s knowledge of the relationship between his mother and father is rocked.

It is a brilliant story which will keep the reader turning the pages.  Zimler who holds degrees in comparative religion and journalism from Stanford University has written another masterpiece.   He is an international bestseller who won the 1998 Book of the Year with The Last Kabbilist of Lisbon.    I wait eagerly for every new book he publishes.