||Yvonne Fein is a playwright, novelist, editor, essayist and lecturer whose works have been published locally and internationally.
She has edited literary journals and award-winning memoirs. Her one-act plays were performed by the MTC and full-length drama, On Edge, at the Universal Theatre. Her novel, April Fool, was published by Hodder in 2001. Her play, A Celebration of Women, performed to a sell-out audience in 2003 and then at Brisbane’s Magdalena Festival.
A student of classical Jewish text and a candidate in the Masters programme at Monash University, her second novel, The Torn Messiah, was published by Hybrid Publishers in May, 2008.
The Torn Messiah
Following her successful debut with April Fool, author Yvonne Fein’s
latest novel, The Torn Messiah, was bound to polarise opinion when it was
launched by Rev Tim Costello at the Jewish Museum of Australia on
Sunday 18 May.
The Torn Messiah is a psychological thriller set in contemporary
Melbourne. The story centres on a charismatic New York rabbi who
brings an irresistible mix of personality, Kabbalah teaching and guitar
playing to Melbourne’s vulnerable Jewish youth.
Freddie Rose, an independently wealthy woman in her thirties, joins
the other younger female congregants in their quest for knowledge and
involvement in Jewish ritual that had previously been accessible only
in the male domain. She is at once beguiled and repelled by the rabbi
but when people start to die, Freddie must decide if in fact he is
responsible, and then whether she must betray the man who has
awakened her from her own spiritual darkness.
The narrative explores the cult of personality, the causes and effects of
spiritual hunger and tries to identify that fine line separating not only
good from evil but also the sacred from the profane.
The Torn Messiah examines such universal themes as the abuse of
power as well as the potent seductiveness possessed by texts, ancient or
modern, when they combine with bitter-sweet melodies filtered
through generations of suffering. It reveals how an authority figure
steeped in spiritual mysticism can endanger the susceptible and the
Film maker Jeremy Weinstein writes: “I couldn’t put the book down.
Fein writes with such vividness that her character comes to life in a
really visual way … This novel is not only for anyone who has ever
questioned religion or the authorities that disseminate it, but also for
anyone caught up in the charisma of a teacher, politician or religious
Media personality John Safran describes The Torn Messiah as “a book
for anyone who’s ever been in a cult. Or even just whacked over the
knuckles by an angry rabbi”.
|Yvonne Fein is a performed and published playwright, novelist,
lecturer and editor. Her writing has appeared in journals and
newspapers locally, in the US and the UK. Her first novel, April Fool,
was published in 2001 by Hodder Headline. She was short-listed for
the 2001 Ned Kelly Awards in the “Best First Crime Novel” category.
||Yvonne Fein's first novel, April Fool, is the first of the April Taub investigation
and introduces the reader to a seriously funny, wisecracking feisty
April Taub is a Melbourne thirty-something rebel with a cause.
A freelance journalist, she also has more than a passing interest
in chasing Nazi war criminals.
A moment of indiscretion sees her stumbling onto a nationwide conspiracy
with potentially fatal consequences to herself and her organisation.
Full of witty, snappy dialogue, April Fool, is a great read.
The Sunday Age
is an adventurous stylist, switching between pithy
action-driven narration, April's scorching slant on the world,
and memory-laden reflections on the world, and memory-laden reflections
on rage and vengeance."
are painted with evocative touches, the dialogue
is spare and telling, and the pace is finely judged."
from the book launch speech by Justice Alan Goldberg QC:
read "April Fool" very quickly, or rather I devoured it.
I was picked up and swept along by the frenetic pace of the narrative."
"Yvonne draws upon many streams and many themes in building up
action-packed contemporary, locally based, thriller which holds
interest so that you can't wait to turn the page to see what's
happen next. What these streams and themes disclose is an
and commitment of Yvonne to Jewishness, female consciousness,
and her keen eye for what has been an active issue in contemporary
for the last 15 years - has Australia been a haven or safe house
Nazi war criminals?"
"What I found particularly enjoyable about the book was its setting
Sydney and Melbourne and then Kangaroo Island and finally the
central and desert Australia. An Australian setting for
sure but a setting
nevertheless for an international universal morality play."
|Review of April Fool on the Dosinc website
to the Australian Jewish writers database