Ezekiel: A novel by John Fanning

Ezekiel Yusuf Moran is 99 years old. He has been many things in his near-century of life – a son, a farmer, a friend, a lover, a doctor, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a homeopath, a soldier and a French Résistance fighter. But most of all, Ezekiel has been a seeker. He seeks truth and the opportunity to speak his truth. He seeks communion – with his soul and spirit, with the natural world around him, with his friends and family. He seeks knowledge – from books, from people, from the world and from his own self.

Ezekiel has had many strange and wondrous teachers in his life. His father – a wise and patient man and his first best friend. Yusuf – a stranger in a strange land, who recites Safi poetry, communes with nature and lives in joy despite his tragic past. Young German Mathias – vivacious and beautiful and full of life – spouting off quotes from Shakespeare and sneaking Ezekiel off to brothels. The beautiful Thérèse – who is far ahead of her time, who wears pants and reads philosophy and rides horses and eschews marriage, despite the conventions of the age. Wise Tara, a monk Ezekiel meets while wandering the world after the war. Even, the fast-driving, octogenarian Pascale.

But now, it is Ezekiel’s turn to teach. To share what he has learned. To tell his truth. In the days leading up to his death, Ezekiel recounts the amazing story of his life to his grandson, Daniel.

Ezekiel reminds us that the best form of resistance in a mad world is creation. That the acts of living life, of meditating, of knowing ourselves, of communing with our spirit, of telling our truth are the most defiant things you can do in a world of rules and restrictive religion practices and political tyranny.

Fanning delivers in Ezekiel with his sumptuous prose, with the bright juiciness of his characters, with his remarkable philosophical insight. Ezekiel is like a pomegranate – imparting individual jewels of wisdom. This is a book meant to be savored, not devoured. It is best consumed in tiny mouthfuls. Like a pomegranate, it is life and abundance, it is rich and fertile. It will stain your fingers red.

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