A new Orthodox horror novel blends Kabbalah, family drama and memories of the Holocaust

Toby Lloyd, left, is the author of "Fervor", a new Jewish horror novel. (Images courtesy of Simon & Schuster Canada)

Toby Lloyd didn’t grow up religious. But the British Jewish author became fascinated with Orthodoxy—how different people, even in the same family, can interpret biblical texts as either literal or metaphorical. Wanting to tap into the meaning and effects of people’s belief systems, as well as reinterpreting stories from the Torah and wrapping it in the guise of horror, Lloyd wrote his debut novel, Fervor, out March 19.

The story blends difficult family dynamics, a critique of religion and intergenerational Holocaust trauma, when a patriarchal grandfather survivor dies, sparking his adult children to suspect their own daughter of falling deep into Jewish mysticism and becoming a witch. To explain how and why he wrote the book, Lloyd joins Ralph Benmergui on Not That Kind of Rabbi for a conversation about writing and the role of religion in modern British Jewry.


Not That Kind of Rabbi is hosted by Ralph Benmergui and produced by Michael Fraiman. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To support The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt, please consider a monthly donation by clicking here.