The Greatest Story Ever Retold
In our November/December issue, Daniel Klein reviews Herman Wouk’s new book, The Lawgiver:
The Lawgiver, a new novel by the 97-year-old, Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Herman Wouk, is about a new novel that fails to get written by a 97-year-old, Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist named Herman Wouk.
The novel within the novel about which Herman Wouk (that is, the fictional character who is a doppelganger for the living author of the same name) has been ruminating for decades is the story of the biblical Moses. It is tentatively titled, of course, The Lawgiver. Wouk sees this towering Old Testament figure as the ultimate challenge. Once completed, Wouk’s Moses book will be his literary non plus ultra, the one for which all his other estimable novels—from The Caine Mutiny and Marjorie Morningstar to The Winds of War and War and Remembrance—were mere warm-ups.
But the Moses novel, started and stopped in frustration over the years, again gets sidetracked, this time by a film project being developed by a variety of colorful Hollywood folk, plus a wealthy Australian-Jewish investor who has always wanted to produce a film about the very same biblical titan. The aim of the proposed film is to give the Moses story its full Talmudic due as compared to that given in the bogus Cecil B. De Mille blockbuster, The Ten Commandments. For reasons that Wouk is never completely comfortable with (one of them is an astoundingly high fee), he signs on as consultant and final arbiter of the script being written for this film. Needless to mention, the film is also tentatively titled The Lawgiver.
To read Klein’s entire review, click here.
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