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At the center of Blue is Abraham Tal, a gem merchant in New York City, and the Venetian Jewish wedding ring, with its radiant blue roof, which grounds him to this past and represents his hopes for the future. And Tal's story itself is, page by page, surrounded by the tales of other characters, real and imagined - literary, artistic, fictional, religious, and historical figures whose stories combine to give the central narrative unique texture and depth. Franz Kafka, James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Bob Dylan, Elie Wiesel, Chief Crazy Horse, various Jewish mystics and rabbis, Vermeer, Kierkegaard, Tal's mother, his father, his girlfriend - all are allowed their commentaries, often in the form of parallel stories from their own lives.