The Wanting is new this month in hardback from Schocken. Here’s Publishers Weekly’s blurb:
Lavigne’s second novel (after Not Me) confronts the moral questions surrounding religious extremism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The novel’s literally explosive opening takes place in Jerusalem in 1996, as a bomb goes off outside renowned architect Roman Guttman’s office, triggering a sort of fever dream that sends him into Palestinian territory and deep into memories of his communist youth in the U.S.S.R. Guttman narrates sections of the novel in language both vivid and disturbing. Also narrating is the suicide bomber, Amir Hamid, now dead, who has found in the afterlife not a martyr’s reward but rather the curse of following Guttman through the desert and retracing his own youthful journey toward violent extremism. Finally, Guttman’s 13-year-old daughter Anyusha, whose Zionist radical mother, Collette, died in a Soviet prison soon after giving birth, seeks answers of her own, revealing in diary form her attraction toward a messianic Jewish extremist group. Though some narrative digressions keep the novel from being truly elegant, Lavigne’s heartfelt examination offers what reportage never could: an intensely intimate and humane depiction of the forces that unite and powerfully divide this region and its people.
The World Without You is forthcoming this summer from Joshua Henkin (Pantheon). Write up from Publisher’s Weekly:
Like a more bittersweet version of Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You or a less chilly variation on Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections, Henkin (Matrimony) tenderly explores family dynamics in this novel about the ties that bind, and even lacerate. One year after the death of their kidnapped journalist son, Leo, in Iraq, David and Marilyn Frankel, non-practicing Jews, call their entire mishpocha to their summer home in the Berkshires to attend his memorial service: Clarissa and her husband, Nathaniel, who, after years of putting off parenthood, are having a difficult time getting pregnant; Lily, a D.C. lawyer who shows up without Malcolm, her restaurateur boyfriend of 10 years; Noelle, an Orthodox Jew who arrives from Jerusalem with her husband, Amram, and their four children; and Thisbe, Leo’s widow, a grad student who flies in from Berkeley with their three-year-old son, Calder. Over the course of the Fourth of July holiday, David and Marilyn will make a stunning announcement; Thisbe will reveal a secret; a game of Celebrity will cause Amram to drive off into the night; Leo will be remembered; and someone will pee on the carpet. The author has created an empathetic cast of characters that the reader will love spending time with, even as they behave like fools and hurt one another. An intelligently written novel that works as a summer read and for any other time of the year.