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A compelling and compassionate debut about friendship, faith, family and identity.
Winner of the Debut Fiction Prize, 72nd National Jewish Book Awards
‘We recognize and appreciate Penguin Random House Australia’s decision to publish a book of such high quality – one that enlarges the whole enterprise of Jewish scholarship and contributes to informed living, understanding, and entertainment for the entire English-reading world.’ – Executive Director, National Jewish Book Awards
'A uniquely accomplished debut.' Sydney Morning Herald
He who turns his ear away from hearing the Torah – even his prayer is an abomination. Proverbs 28:9
Melbourne 1999: Ezra and Yonatan are best friends whose lives are forever changed when their school, the ultra-Orthodox Jewish Yahel Academy, is rocked by a scandal and they are thrown onto divergent paths. Twenty years later, the lives of the two men are very different: Ezra identifies as secular and atheist, while Yonatan has been ordained as a rabbi and teaches at the academy. By chance they are reunited, and the events of their past and present collide with devastating consequences.
Abomination lays bare the clash between religious and secular worlds in contemporary Australia and provides a revealing glimpse into a closed community. With great tenderness and insight debut author Ashley Goldberg tells the story of an enduring and evolving friendship as Yonatan and Ezra struggle to come to terms with the choices they have made, search for meaning, and forge their own identities. This is a beautifully observed, moving story from an exciting young writer.
About the Author
Ashley Goldberg is an Australian writer based in Melbourne. His fiction has appeared in New Australian Fiction 2021, Meanjin, Chiron Review, The Honest Ulsterman and Award Winning Australian Writing among other publications. Ashley has an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University and a Graduate Diploma of Professional Writing from Canberra University. His work has been shortlisted, longlisted, and anthologized in numerous competitions worldwide, including the 2017/18 Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize and the Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
"I couldn’t stop turning the pages even though I needed to do other things. No idea whether or not Ashley has lived in the tight-knit Jewish community his characters occupy but it sure as hell vividly matches up with what I’ve seen and lived through." —John Safran, author, God'll Cut You Down
"A searching, deeply intelligent exploration of faith and memory that crackles with the taut energy and electric intensity of a thriller, Abomination is one of those rare debuts where a writer arrives fully-formed and in complete control of their craft." —James Bradley, author, Flags of Our Fathers
"This is a tale about self-realisation and self-actualisation, and the journey these young men make through the story is both moving and profound." —Rebecca Starford, author, An Unlikely Spy
"Abomination operates with a headlong narrative momentum, toggling focus with a steady, and quietly propulsive, force... it's a uniquely accomplished debut." —Sydney Morning Herald
"Yonatan and Ezra’s renewed friendship highlights the clash of cultures that can exist within the small but diverse Australian Jewish community, as well as broader multicultural Australia. It also, conversely, illustrates the universality of each man’s experience. Both yearn to live in a way that is true to themselves and those closest to them. That Goldberg is able to traverse such themes in a tightly plotted, engaging novel that doesn’t feel overwrought or pretentious is testament to his skill and sensitivity as a writer." —Kill Your Darlings