Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Published by
Simon & Schuster (October 2012)
Original language
Fiction & Related items


by Wouk, Herman

For more than fifty years, legendary author Herman Wouk has dreamed of writing a novel about the life of Moses. Finally, at age ninety-six, he has found an ingeniously witty way to tell the tale in THE LAWGIVER, a romantic and suspenseful epistolary novel about a group of people trying to make a movie about Moses in the present day. The story emerges from letters, memos, emails, journals, news articles, recorded talk, tweets, Skype transcripts, and text messages.

At the center of THE LAWGIVER is Margo Solovei, a brilliant young writer-director who has rejected her rabbinical father’s strict Jewish upbringing to pursue a career in the arts. When an Australian multi-billionaire promises to finance a movie about Moses if the script meets certain standards, Margo does everything she can to land the job, including a reunion with her estranged first love, an influential lawyer with whom she still has unfinished business.
Two other key characters in the novel are Herman Wouk himself and his wife of more than sixty years, Betty Sarah, who, almost against their will, find themselves entangled in the Moses movie when the Australian billionaire insists on Wouk’s stamp of approval. As Wouk and his characters contend with Moses and marriage, the force of tradition, rebellion, and reunion, THE LAWGIVER reflects the wisdom of a lifetime. Inspired by the great nineteenth century novelists, one of America’s most beloved twentieth century authors has now written a remarkable twenty-first century work of fiction.

Among Mr. Wouk's laurels are the 1952 Pulitzer Prize in fiction for The Caine Mutiny, the cover of Time Magazine for Marjorie Morningstar, the bestselling novel of that year, and the cultural phenomenon of The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, which he wrote over a thirteen-year period and went on to become two of the most popular novels and TV miniseries events of the 1970s and 80s. In 1998, he received the Guardian of Zion Award for support of Israel. In 2008, Mr. Wouk was honored with the first Library of Congress Fiction Award, to be known as the Herman Wouk Award for Lifetime Achievement In the Writing of Fiction. (Last year, Mr. Wouk's name was invoked, quite accurately, in the title of a short story written for The Atlantic by Stephen King, "Herman Wouk Is Still Alive.")

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Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Sebastian Ritscher

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In fact, his next book is already well under way. “I have written a large section, of which I will tell you nothing,” he said, smiling.

Quote: New York Times

Sixty-four years after the publication of his first novel, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and American treasure Herman Wouk tackles, at age 97, what he calls an ‘impossible novel’: the story of Moses. He succeeds in an artfully oblique, amazing, and modern way…Anyone who has wrestled with sacred religious tradition of any kind, and everyone who loves a good story, should get this smart, engaging jewel of a novel. May Wouk have other tales in him and live to be 120!

Review: Library Journal

The novel comes into its own as a suspenseful narrative that asks fundamental questions: is Moses still relevant? Can this movie get made? Will true love prevail? The answers will not necessarily surprise, but getting to them is a fun ride…a contemporary version of Marjorie Morningstar. Wouk the author has made something old, and something very old, new again.

Review: Publishers Weekly

In some essential way, this book about a movie about a book is also about the very act of writing books. Wouk reminds us of the eternal value of storytelling while he shows 30- and 50- and 80-year-old whippersnappers how it’s done.

Review: The Washington Post

Brisk, funny, and incisive, Wouk’s romantic comedy of art versus love slyly updates the story of the beloved star of his indelible novel Marjorie Morningstar (1955), while nimbly (at last!) retelling the story of Moses. This smart, playful novel, along with Wouk’s remarkably sustained literary exuberance, will garner major media attention and avid reader interest.

Review: Booklist

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