Customer Reviews for

The Outside World

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2012

    LOVED IT!!

    Didn't want it to end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2004

    Mirvis creates a world of wonderful characters

    Mirvis paints a rich tableau of characters, each relating to religion and modernity in a different way. The book is so well-written that you feel the struggle of each person as they try to navigate their way in the 'outside world'. The beauty of Mirvis' work shines through on each page. It is a joy to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2004

    Read it cover to cover in one day

    This book is a masterpiece in writing. Every sentence is a joy to read. The story speaks to the challenges of living a religious life in a modern world but also helps us all remember the simple pleasures of family, history, and tradition. I opened the book and did not close it until it was done. The mental imagery the author creates in every sentence makes the book more like a movie than a novel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2004

    Outside World

    Tova Mirvis¿ ¿The Outside World¿ wonderfully depicts the tensions inherent in a community¿s constant struggle to define its own contours. The primary characters in this novel, a pair of young lovers from different segments of the Orthodox Jewish community, are drawn to each other precisely because their respective backgrounds epitomize the other¿s desires. Baruch (Bryan) is attracted to Tzippy because her family¿s version of their shared religion emphasizes punctilious observance and a more severe break with their contemporary world. Tzippy is attracted to Bryan (Baruch) because his family¿s version of their shared religion allows and encourages a fuller integration with contemporary society. While all of the novel¿s characters struggle to balance their faith against a completely outside non-Jewish world, the young couple illustrates the degree to which the definition of inside and outside in any closed ethnic community is always being negotiated. As each of the novel¿s characters (children and parents) develop and find their way within their communal world, each struggles with a community that encourages conformity by incorporating their own needs and wants into the ¿inside world.¿ As a study of the nature of community and conformity, the novel is an excellent choice for people of all faith and ethnic backgrounds.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2004

    Outside World

    I loved Tova Mirvis¿ widely anticipated second novel, The Outside World. With great wit, deep insight, and gentle humor, Mirvis has created a living and breathing cast of characters who invite the reader to share in their touching and often laugh-out-loud funny journeys toward self-realization. The book brilliantly captures the dynamic of parents and children as children mature and begin to establish their own identities. Quite subtly, and in ways that only good fiction can, the novel presents a commentary on the sexism that often masquerades as religion. Bryan¿s interactions with his sister Ilana and his mother Naomi offer some of the book¿s more humorous moments, while highlighting the insidious and varied ways in which men quash women¿s voices in the name of religion. The novel also grapples with the sexism buried deep within the myth of the nuclear family. Naomi and Shayna, two mothers marrying off their children, are complex characters whose identity crises are brought about by a combination of inner religious conflict, frustrated housewifery and the end of child-rearing. Shayna defers her dreams to her children through whom she lives vicariously. As her daughter Tzippy leaves the home and slowly severs the close connection with her mother, Shayna is thrust into a depression from which only Tzippy can rouse her. Naomi is no less affected by her children¿s rebellion. Their rejection of her well-researched and carefully planned mothering strategies causes Naomi to question her own identity¿an identity circumscribed by her role as their mother. In short, this is a terrific, funny and insightful book, and a great read.

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