"Remember your name . . . !"
Shibboleth is Alan Whitehead’s first novel, written with a love for both anthroposophy and a riveting good story. It has proved to be one of the most enjoyable, as well as thought-provoking, books I’ve read in ages. Alan’s ability to engage, enliven and make new the old is drawn into full play in this story of intrigue, survival and renewal.
Out of the darkest of beginnings, the destruction of a family by the Gestapo in wartime Germany, the author weaves a tale of triumphant survival. When the Gestapo arrive after an exquisite performance of violin and voice by extraordinary musicians who happen also to be Jewish, the very young daughter is left with only her father’s violin as a token of her family. She is also left with the admonition to “remember your name,” to remember her sacred Jewish name.
By the time she is a young adult, ready to pursue against all odds a career in dancing, she has carried her father’s violin with her, but forgotten all about her sacred name. It is her journey back to her origins, her father and toward who she really is that leads us into realms sparkling with spiritual light against what are often some of the darkest moments imaginable. Ultimately, it is the light that prevails, forcing the darkness into the distant background.
Along the way, we meet characters to love, as well as some we can all be grateful we do not live next door to. Alan’s warmth and humor pepper the pages, making this journey one you’ll remember with a smile.