Yvonne Fein

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 defenceless.

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 leader.”

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.
April Fool

Yvonne Fein's first novel, April Fool, is the first of the April Taub investigation novels, and introduces the reader to a seriously funny, wisecracking feisty young woman.

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

"Fein 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."

"Settings are painted with evocative touches, the dialogue is spare and telling, and the pace is finely judged."

Excerpts from the book launch speech by Justice Alan Goldberg QC:
"I 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 an
action-packed contemporary, locally based, thriller which holds your interest so that you can't wait to turn the page to see what's going to happen next.  What these streams and themes disclose is an abiding passion and commitment of Yvonne to Jewishness, female consciousness, Australianness and her keen eye for what has been an active issue in contemporary debate for the last 15 years - has Australia been a haven or safe house for alleged Nazi war criminals?"

"What I found particularly enjoyable about the book was its setting in
Sydney and Melbourne and then Kangaroo Island and finally the outback and 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

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