Wherever You Go: A Novel (Paperback)
“Timely and brave. . . . Leegant is a masterful weaver.”—Miami Herald
Yona Stern has traveled from New York to Israel to make amends with her estranged sister, a stoic ideologue and mother of five who has dedicated herself to the radical West Bank settlement cause. Yona’s personal life resembles nothing of her sister’s, but it isn’t politics that drove the two apart.
Now a respected Jerusalem Talmud teacher, Mark Greenglass was once a drug dealer saved by an eleventh-hour turn to Orthodox Judaism. But for reasons he can’t understand, he’s lost his once fervent religious passion. Is he through with God? Is God through with him?
Enter Aaron Blinder, a year-abroad dropout with a history of failure whose famous father endlessly—some say obsessively—mines the Holocaust for his best-selling, melodramatic novels. Desperate for approval, Aaron finds a home on the violent fringe of Israeli society, with unforeseen and devastating consequences.
In a sweeping, beautifully written story, Joan Leegant, winner of the PEN New England Book Award and the Edward Lewis Wallant Award, and a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, weaves together three lives caught in the grip of a volatile and demanding faith. Emotionally wrenching and unmistakably timely, Wherever You Go shines a light on one of the most disturbing elements in Israeli society: Jewish extremist groups and their threat to the modern, democratic state. This is a stunningly prescient novel.
About the Author
Joan Leegant, author of An Hour in Paradise and Wherever You Go, won the Edward Lewis Wallant Award for the best book of Jewish-American fiction and the L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award. She lives in Newton, Massachusetts.
Pitch-perfect renderings of individuals torn between earthly and heavenly Jerusalems...Wherever You Go is a lively, full novel by an elegant, ironic writer who handles the topics of terror and messianic violence as agilely as she does love and redemption.
Finally, a novel about Israel by an American Jew that’s written well and without sentimentality... There have been many important novels in English about Israel; Leegant’s is certainly among them.
Leegant’s compelling debut novel weaves together the lives of three characters searching for personal and religious reconciliation in volatile settings.
Leegant is a talented writer with a sharp eye for detail, a good ear for dialogue (and interior monologue), and a knack for drawing characters that engage our interest and empathy…. She succeeds at building suspense with a variety of literary strategies and executes a clever twist in the plot’s denouement to prolong the tension until almost the very end.
A finely wrought story that raises issues while it keeps a reader turning the pages.
Written with skill, shrewd observation and honesty, Wherever You Go explores some of the most intractable issues facing Israel and, by extension, American Jewry today.
A Very Large Expanse of Sea was different than my normal reads for many reasons: 1) it dealt with modern politics and tensions 2) it dealt with racism, bias, and cultural interaction. Mafi's book challenged my way of thinking about other cultures and people. (It will probably do it to you too.) I would recommend it to anyone wanting to learn problems in our society. - Kaitlyn, customer age 13