Vox Tablet

A New Novel Brings Ghosts, Geeks, and Golems to Sleepover Camp

First-time novelist Ari Goelman faces tough questions from an 11-year-old fantasy fiction aficionado and summer-camp devotee

June 10, 2013
(Andrea Tsurumi)

(Andrea Tsurumi)

In his debut novel, The Path of Names, Vancouver-based writer Ari Goelman conjures Dahlia, an intrepid 13-year-old who we meet as she begrudgingly attends her first summer at Camp Arava, the Jewish overnight camp where her brother is a beloved counselor. Ever interested in figuring out sleights of hand, she’d rather spend her time learning magic. Then strange things start to happen. Dahlia spots two apparitions—little girls dressed for the 1940s who beckon to her in her bunk. Suddenly she has memories and dreams of yeshiva life and understands Hebrew words she has never before known. Unruffled by the increasingly intense fantastical phenomena around her, Dahlia forges on, keen to figure out what’s happening to her and to the sweet ghosts who keep reappearing.

Ari Goelman talks with Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry about the fantasy novels that accompanied his childhood, how he came up with the idea for Dahlia and her story, and why he set the action at a Jewish overnight camp. Joining the conversation is Josie Ingall, herself a lover of fantasy fiction, who, at 11 years old, fits right in to Goelman’s target demographic and has some questions of her own to put to the author. (Josie is also the daughter of Tablet Magazine columnist Marjorie Ingall.)

Though the school year is ending, there’s no reason for you or your child to stop reading! Enter our sweepstakes to be one of 10 lucky people selected at random to win a copy of The Path of Names. [Running time: 12:44.]

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Vox Tablet is Tablet Magazine’s weekly podcast, hosted by Sara Ivry and produced by Julie Subrin. You can listen to individual episodes here or subscribe on iTunes.

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