Sometimes, I buy a book – probably because of a review – and then it sits for a while. Something made me pluck this one off my shelf, and I’m so glad I did. Markovits’ words are like watercolors, not only because they suggest so much with each brushstroke, but also because they change or evolve over time and as they are combined. She takes us into a world that is remote and deliberately so – a family of Jewish fundamentalists – and makes us see the humanity in those who choose to follow rules that would be difficult for many. I became so empathetic with three of the characters that when they each make a choice – each more desperate than the next – I felt both the necessity of their choices as well as the pain that the choices inflict on those who make them and subsequent generations. I wanted everyone to ‘win,’ and there was no way that could happen.
Even the cover photograph by Kate Isherwood is perfect.