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The Sacrifice of Abraham

By Alexander Nemser

The Sacrifice of Abraham

The Sacrifice of Abraham contains fifty short pieces composed in poetic prose, centering on the Biblical story of Isaac and Abraham: a father commanded by God to sacrifice his only son. As the orbit of the sequence circles around the sun of Isaac and Abraham, the book reveals its deeper themes: what is our relation to the past, history, and culture, whose force reaches us so much in the form of trash, hearsay, and gorgeous, illusory misinformation? How does culture live in our mind, and what shape does it take, particularly now that all of our knowledge exists in the abundant, eerie contiguity of the Internet? The book’s answer is something like an enormous apartment complex where Zeus, Athena, Jonah, Abraham, Isaac, and Sarah live simultaneously beside refugees, insurgents, scholars, drug addicts and poets. It is the Renaissance School of Athens in Grand Central Station.

20.00 $

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Product Description


The Peacock

A group of rabbis sat in the vacant room behind a store specializing in previously-owned camera equipment and ladders of infinite height imported from a charred and ramshackle orchard the rabbis called ‘The Mother Country.’ The rabbis were allowed, at the minimum of rent, to gather in the room on Wednesday afternoons following the ritual slaughter of a peacock on the steps of the synagogue.

As the rabbis argued over God’s command to Abraham, the slaughterer spread newspaper beneath the peacock and slit its throat with a jackknife, whispering, in a tune known only to him and his predecessors, a prayer of thanksgiving which traveled in a spiral on a current of air up to the ears of the gods who, shipwrecked on a celestial island and living in the rusted hull of a cruise liner, were boiling honey over the embers of the Great Bonfire, set by the one-eyed hero Polyphemos from a mound of sacred grasses. The fire, it was contended, burned the entire time it took for the world to be created from the graveyard of solar systems, where Mohammed Ali once buried the sun.

Additional Information

Weight 0.5 g
Dimensions 13 x 1 x 21 cm

About The Author


Alexander Nemser is a writer, performer, and educator based in Brooklyn, New York. His work has been published in The New York Times, The Paris Review, The Atlantic Monthly, AGNI and Zeek. His one-man show, “Moshe Feldstein, Icon of Self-Realization,” premiered in the 2011 New York Fringe Festival at the Cherry Lane Theater, and was praised by The New Yorker’s Book Bench blog for its “incandescent, deracinating prose poetry.” He has performed his work internationally, from the Bowery Poetry Club in Manhattan, to the Galle Literary Festival in Galle, Sri Lanka.