Leegant's debut novel, after her story collection, An Hour in Paradise, follows three Americans who long for definitive answers from their Jewish faith. Yona Stern returns to Jerusalem in an attempt to reconcile with her sister, Dena, from whom she's been estranged for 10 years after sleeping with Dena's husband. Dena has since married a man committed to the uncompromising Jewish settlements. Mark Greenglass, a scholar who has replaced his drug addiction with a religious addiction, leaves Jerusalem to return to New York for a teaching gig and to reconnect with his parents and the woman he loved but couldn't save from a dissipated life. And Aaron Blinder, a college dropout resentful of his father's success writing bestselling novels about the Holocaust, searches for a group to join in Israel to give his life meaning. While each individual tale has its urgency and pathos, the story becomes gripping only in the latter part of the book when the three paths collide in a frightening incident caused by an impetuous, irresponsible act by Aaron. Unfortunately, that is the shortest section, making the whole feel unbalanced, but Leegant's strong, sensory writing compensates.
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Leegant's compelling debut novel weaves together the lives of three characters searching for personal and religious reconciliation in volatile settings. Yona travels from New York to Israel to visit her estranged older sister, Dena, who lives near Hebron in the West Bank. After the loss of their parents and a past of infidelity that drove the siblings apart, Yona longs to reconnect with her unforgiving sister while navigating her own sense of redemption. Mark Greenglass, a respected Jewish lecturer, visits his family in New York, where he faces his tumultuous, drug-addled past as well as a growing indifference toward his faith. At the edge of Jerusalem city limits, college student Aaron Blinder arrives at a radical outpost after dropping out of his yearlong semester abroad program. Socially awkward and crumbling under the pressure from his father, a famous writer, Aaron quickly feels at home with the camp. But when an act of violence propels the intersecting of Leegant's characters' lives in a shocking climax, they are finally forced to confront the aftermath of their life choices. --Leah Strauss --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
This book is an entertaining and fast read with compelling characters who are in their own ways trying to reconcile their secular lives with their faith, which is complicated in... Read morePublished 17 days ago by Tim Lieder
I enjoyed this book. I would recommend it. It gives me insight into Israeli life and culture. Interesting characters and scenarios.Published 18 months ago by Steve
I read this for a book club. Some of the other readers thought it was confusing because the story skipped around a bit. Read morePublished 19 months ago by rebecca carlson
While the plot eventually holds your attention, the characters are two- dimensional. Theu lurch through their lives like chess pieces, giving us little insight, and the... Read morePublished 19 months ago by M. Eisenstein
The chapters alternated between the main characters in a haphazard way not allowing for full personality development. Read morePublished on June 17, 2013 by Carmel Reader
When I started it I found it a but slow but it turned out to be an excellent book. I recommend it highly.Published on March 6, 2013 by Anne123
A very interesting novel, interweaving three stories. A bit slow reading initially, but towards the end you just can't stop reading until you're finished.Published on February 4, 2013 by Arline L Mayer
I very much enjoyed this book which had been highly recommended to me. I'd like my book group to read and discuss it.Published on December 15, 2012 by E. Brody