The final novel of well-known Israeli author, A.B. Yehoshua, published posthumously describes a few weeks in the life of 12 year old Rachele Luzzato. Rachele is Jewish but is angry when her father won’t let her portray the Virgin Mary in her school’s Christmas pageant. We are introduced to her when she learns that her father is ill and will require brain surgery. The family lives in Padua, Italy but Rachele’s father will have the operation in Venice.
Rachele is an intriguing character. In some ways she is wise beyond her years, yet she tends to say whatever is on her mind, never thinking of how it will affect others. As she prepares for her bat mitzvah, issues about God, religion and ethics are brought up. The Only Daughter is not Yehoshua’s best novel, but it is a worthwhile read.