And The Word Was


When the tragic death of his son compels Dr. Neil Downs to flee New York City for India, he takes a job as the resident physician at the American Embassy, where he is introduced to the paradoxes of Indian social and political life. Unable to mourn, and angry about a betrayal on the part of his wife, Sarah, Neil seeks philosophical refuge in the writings of Levi Furstenblum, whose work grapples with the nature of language and god after Auschwitz. At the same time, he becomes involved with a prestigious Indian family and forms a bond with Holika, the rebellious, activist niece of the family’s industrial and political doyen. With this relationship, Neil discovers the intrigues and the horrors that plague a society not dissimilar to the one he left behind. Through a complex interplay between the external and internal, foreign and domestic, the promises of faith and the ineluctability of evil, Neil slowly unravels the lies and misrepresentations that had woven the texture of his life.

This tightly plotted novel will be irresistible to anyone who yearns for affirmation in spirituality and matters of the heart. A stunning reinterpretation of the Abraham and Isaac sacrifice myth, And the Word Was is guaranteed to leave readers profoundly moved.


“Bauman’s first novel is a magnificent debut, smart and intense, but accessible and riveting.…This is simply a great novel, and hopefully only the first in what will be many more from the author.”

“Downs and the other characters in Bruce Bauman’s New Delhi resemble those in the Jerusalem of Robert Stone’s Damascus Gate. Benumbed and deracinated, they scavenge for high meaning amidst the detritus of both everyday events and moments of theological speculation.…Confidently and profoundly exploring the languages of grief, guilt, ravaged memory, and lost faith, Bauman’s debut novel traverses the psyche of a man whose personal diaspora and reconnection to the world quietly alter our perception of our own.”
L.A. Weekly

“Bauman has given Downs a refreshingly ruthless, unflinching, and humorous voice with which to chronicle his painful progress toward an uncertain future.…Think Albert Camus, Marcel Proust, and Larry David engaged in a debate on the meaning of sacrifice and forgiveness.”

“[And the Word Was] is utterly absorbing, a page-turner in the most literal sense of the phrase. Seamlessly structured, it is at once intellectually ambitious and emotionally alive. Bruce Bauman is one of the most engaging and engaged writers and thinkers that I know.”
—Rebecca Goldstein, author of The Mind-Body Problem

“This book in its entirety is deelpy moving, sophisticated, intricate, elegant, with a neatly woven narrative and powerful culminations. It is a loving, sensitive novel, which asks many hard questions about life and faith.”
—Joanna Scott, author of Arrogance: A Novel