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Wherever You Go ~ Joan Leegant

September 1, 2011

Genre: Adult Fiction
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
253 pages
ISBN: 9780393339895
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

Some places are a melting pot but the eternally combustible sands of the middle east could better be described as a pressure cooker. Under the desert sun in Israel, three lives bake and squirm amidst a stronger power in Joan Leegant’s Wherever You Go. Yona Stern has come halfway around the world in one last-ditch effort to save an all but lost relationship with her sister. Mark Greenglass has jumped out of the hot pot, only to land in the equally spiritual and tempestuous New York City as a visiting scholar. Aaron Blinder has never really found his way, in life, until, now, camping out along the more militant and extremist edges of the Israeli fight.

The three strands of life serve to paint a picture of life in the birthplace of Abrahamic faith and also in its far-flung little sister, New York.  intensely emotional and deeply searching, the book, is one that I think many people would enjoy, Jewish or not. The questions of faith and commitment, of personal and inward reflections, are not necessarily tied specific to Judaism, though they are a very open and blunt look at the way the world embraces or rejects the faith in certain ways, today. I found the book to be reflective of many of the questions I’ve mulled over in my adult life, both spiritual and secular, dealing with everything from completely internal emotions to the macroscopic views of a society at large that is ready to explode.

I found the three voices very easy to distinguish and fun to follow. The stories are different enough that they didn’t need to be any more separated than they were. This is not a light read, even though it’s a little book. I recommend it for those looking to get into something a little bit deeper as the weather turns to a more scholastic autumn.  Definitely check out Leegant’s personal page and the other stops on her tour for more information other views on the book.

About Joan Leegant

Joan Leegant is also the author of a story collection, An Hour In Paradise, winner of the 2004 PEN/L.L. Winship Award for outstanding book by a New England author and the Edward Lewis Wallant Award, as well as a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award and selection for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Series. Formerly a lawyer, for eight years she taught writing at Harvard University. The mother of two adult sons, she divides her time between Newton, Massachusetts and Tel Aviv, where she teaches at Bar-Ilan University. For more about Joan Leegant,

Joan’s Tour Stops

Monday, August 22nd: Reviews from the Heart

Tuesday, August 23rd: Life In Review

Wednesday, August 24th: The Scarlett Letter

Thursday, August 25th: Books Like Breathing

Friday, August 26th: A Bookish Way of Life

Monday, August 29th: Life is Short. Read Fast.

Tuesday, August 30th: Rundpinne

Wednesday, August 31st: Among Stories

Thursday, September 1st: Iwriteinbooks

Monday, September 5th: Unabridged Chick

Tuesday, September 6th: nomadreader

Wednesday, September 7th: Lit and Life

Thursday, September 8th: Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile

Monday, September 12th: In the Next Room

Wednesday, September 14th: Wordsmithonia

Thursday, September 15th: Life in the Thumb

Friday, September 16th: Jenny Loves to Read

6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 1, 2011 10:31 am

    I am also going to be reading this book, and it’s good to hear that it’s a little meatier than most, as I need something for my brain to dig into right about now. Great review on this one. I can’t wait to see what I think of it!

  2. September 1, 2011 11:09 am

    It doesn’t sound light, that’s for sure! Great review, thanks!

  3. September 1, 2011 12:10 pm

    I can’t wait to read this one for myself – it’s the next thing I plan to pick up when I finish my current read.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour! I’m featuring your review on TLC’s Facebook page today.

  4. September 1, 2011 4:20 pm

    Thank you for this well-written and insightful review. I love your pithy–and “spot on” (as they say in England!)–descriptions of each character. Many thanks for the close read. Joan Leegant

  5. September 2, 2011 11:37 pm

    sounds quite thought-provoking. i tend to read more ‘scholarly’ or deep books in the autumn and winter and will keep this one in mind–i just have get myself settled into the new school year. 🙂

  6. September 3, 2011 9:02 am

    Interesting, and definitely a book that would make me slow down. Yes, we’re getting to the season for deeper books (and I always find the Norton books very satisfying!).

    Do the three storylines come together at some point, or do they remain discrete?

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