The Cross and the Pear Tree: A Sephardic Journey
Tracing the dramatic lives, through 500 years, of the old and distinguished family from which he is descended, Victor Perera recreates the history ... Show synopsis Tracing the dramatic lives, through 500 years, of the old and distinguished family from which he is descended, Victor Perera recreates the history not only of his own people, but of an entire culture. The story begins in 15th-century Spain, where the Inquisition offered Sephardic Jews a choice of conversion, exile or death. It shows a flourishing tradition interrupted by cruel events; a story of persecution, escape and renewal, stretching across Europe to the Holy Land and Central America. The lives shown are emblematic of the Sephardic diaspora: Ana Pereira, a teenage girl who under torture incriminated 15 of her close relations; the fabulously wealthy merchant Abraham Pereira; the beautiful Maria Nunes, abducted to Shakespeare's England, where she rejected the marriage proposals of a duke; Emile and Isaac Pereire, who founded the French railway system. Finally, it is Victor Perera's search for the grandfather he never knew and his quest to uncover his own identity and liberate himself from a generations-old family curse, which come to dominate the book.