The Outside World

The Outside World

by Tova Mirvis
4.5 9


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The Outside World by Tova Mirvis

Tzippy Goldman was born for marriage. She and her mother had always assumed she’d graduate high school, be set up with the right boy, and have a beautiful wedding with white lace and pareve vanilla cream frosting. But at twenty-two, Tzippy’s fast approaching spinsterhood. She dreams of escape; instead, she leaves for a year in Jerusalem.There she meets–re-meets–Baruch, the son of her mother’s college roommate. When Tzippy last saw him, his name was Bryan and he wore a Yankees-logo yarmulke. Now he has adopted the black hat of the ultra-orthodox, the tradition in which Tzippy was raised. Twelve weeks later, they’re engaged...and discovering that desire and tradition, devotion and individuality aren’t the easiest balance. Hilarious, compassionate, and tremendously insightful, The Outside World illuminates an insular community, marvelously depicting that complicated blend of faith, love, and family otherwise known as life in a modern world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400041619
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/30/2004
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.64(w) x 9.22(h) x 1.11(d)

About the Author

Tova Mirvis grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. She received an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. She lives outside of Boston with her husband and two children. She can be found online at

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Outside World 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It¿s a fun book to read, specially if you are into judaism as a culture, but I expected some more drama
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Didn't want it to end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved all tge charactors and how they all are so interwoven. A great read I really enjoyed!! Tzippy is wonderful, as you can just feel what she is going through.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GrannyG More than 1 year ago
Very interesting to learn about a culture that you are not very familiar with. People are different, but all the same.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.