Book Review: Babylon by Michelle Cameron

September 5, 2023

About:

Babylon: A Novel of Jewish Captivity by Michelle Cameron is a generational novel following the plight of a Judean family’s exile to Babylon. Ms. Cameron is a published author, whose historical-fiction work won several prizes.

  • 432 pages
  • Publisher ‏ : Wicked Son
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : 1637587619

Book Review: Babylon by Michelle Cameron
My rating for Babylon5

Buy Babylon from Amazon.com*
More books by Michelle Cameron*

Thoughts:

A fascinating, well researched, and very ambitious effort by Ms. Cameron. The story captures the immense wealth, of Babylon a long with world building grounded in history.

Babylon by Michelle Cameron is an amalgam of historical and biblical fiction. The Books of Kings, Chronicles, Ezra, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Nehemiah, Matthew, and Ezekiel all have some passages about the exile, some which are corroborated by Babylonian texts found by historians.

The book starts with the destruction of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, following the defeat of the Jews in the Jewish-Babylonian War. The story takes place over decades, when the Jews have finally returned to Israel to build the second temple.

The book touches on many themes and events, from the Jews who refused to take up the Babylonian religion, assimilation, and culture. The themes of marriage, bereavement, immigration, customs, as well as ethics and philosophy are all touched upon. The part where the exiles returned home, after decades away, was especially poignant. They were not welcomed as heroes, quite the opposite and reminded me of stories I heard first-hand from World War II refugees.

I felt there were simply too many characters for such a bold story, and many could not be fleshed out. I don’t know if the author expected the casual reader to be familiar with the biblical or historical stories which is why that is the case.

The world-building, however, is incredible and deserves a close read. Ms. Cameron does capture the feel of the city, as well as the struggles of the exiled to hold-on to whatever shred of dignity, integrity, and culture they could.

The way the Jews kept their traditions and stories alive, so they can be read to this day, are captured in vivid detail. I am a fan of biblical fiction and thought that this book is a fantastic entry into the genre.

Synopsis:

Nebuchadnezzar II’s forces take control of Jerusalem. They lay wasted to a Judean farm and take Sarah and her cousin as “prizes” among many other Jews.

In Babylon Sarah must survive, sacrifice, and navigate place intrigue.

Buy Babylon from Amazon.com*
More books by Michelle Cameron*

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I got this book for free
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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Babylon: A Novel of Jewish Captivity by Michelle Cameron
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Wrap Up

Babylon: A Novel of Jewish Captivity by Michelle Cameron

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