Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Novel About Religious Extremism of the Jewish Variety

 Wherever You Go, the just-published novel by my fellow Vermont College alumna, Joan Leegant, explores radical faith in both its benign and terrifying forms.  

Yona Stern, a secular Jew, travels to Israel to restore her relationship with her hardened sister, Dena, who is now part of a radical, right-wing illegal settlement group.  Mark Greenglass, an Orthodox Talmud scholar based in Israel, has lost the oceanic, reassuring faith that once rescued him from drug addition, but he's nevertheless been asked to teach at a Yeshiva in New York.  Aaron Blinder, a college dropout who's a product of parental indifference and too many hours of Hebrew School, finds meaning and a container for his rage as part of a fringe group in Israel bent on reclaiming all of the land "covenanted to them by God."  Leegant deftly braids these three lives together culminating in a conflagration that's much bigger than any of them.  Just as the small parcel of land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan has seen outsize conflict, those who walk on its soil risk tripping the wires of religious ideology that are wound tightly around the core of its civil life.    


Catherine Stine said...

Interesting topic for a novel. More wars have been fought in the name of religion than just about anything else. (Well, that and over land!)

HelenQP said...

And over that land in particular...thanks for visiting! (hugs)