Written soon after the founding of the state of Israel, The Second Scroll is A.M. Klein’s most innovative and visionary work. The five “books” of the novel are a modern testament of Jewish experience to which are appended “glosses” or commentaries in the form of drama, epistle, poetry, and psalm. The action centres on a young writer from Montreal, whose search for his legendary Uncle Melech becomes a journey of revelation through Italy, Morocco, and the Holy Land. Dissident and exile, reformer and scholar, Melech is a messianic figure who enacts the destiny of his people and embodies the spiritual yearnings of everyman.
The Second Scroll, Klein’s only novel, combines the lyric genius of his poetic works with compelling reportage to create one of the most eloquent and original works in Canadian fiction.