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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Joan Leegant's richly contemplative collection of ten short stories is by turns comical and disquieting, as Jewish characters from various walks of life are forced to reevaluate the role of their faith in helping them adapt to life changes.
In "How to Comfort the Sick and Dying," a yeshiva student clings desperately to his newfound faith in an effort to banish his drug-hazed, womanizing past. "Accounting" is the story of an honest, hardworking father and his passive wife who find their lives under attack, yet again, by the selfish antics of their sociopathic son, justifying their decision to settle his debts as a means of balancing societal debits and credits. In "The Diviners of Desire," modern-day matchmakers go about their business in Jerusalem, using the same techniques of old, highlighting the unchanging nature of love. And in "The Seventh Year," an aging Israeli laments the cultural shift that has made his country worship the "God of Productivity" rather than the God of Moses, who dictates that every seventh year shall be a time of rest for the land.
Leegant's deep empathy, fascinating characterizations, and geographic range all combine to provide an unusual look at how men and women face life's predicaments in ways that will help them seek -- perhaps even grasp -- the divine. (Fall 2003 Selection)