Not the Booker: Raising Sparks by Ariel Kahn review – coincidence unbound

Any reader will need to be spiritually inclined to love this interesting, tender-hearted novel

Late on in Raising Sparks, the thoughtful lead Malka considers the idea that “there is no such thing as a coincidence”. It’s an interesting point to raise 250 pages into a story that’s kicked into action by a moment of pure happenstance – and subsequently booted along by fortuity after fortuity.

Ariel Kahn’s story begins when Malka follows a cat into a house in her native Jerusalem that turns out to have been the former home of Reb Zushya, an expert on Kabbalahwho conducted a rite with Malka’s own parents in order to help them conceive their children. Following the cat further in, she finds it is now the home of a young man called Moshe, a pupil in Malka’s father’s yeshiva who is madly in love ...