Saturday, March 27, 2010

Table of Contents: Faith For Beginners

Author: Aaron Hamburger
Publisher/Year: Random House, 2005
Synopsis: In the summer of 2000, Israel teeters between total war and total peace. Similarly on edge, Helen Michaelson, a respectable suburban housewife from Michigan, has brought her ailing husband and rebellious college-age son, Jeremy, to Jerusalem. She hopes the journey will inspire Jeremy to reconnect with his faith and find meaning in his life . . . or at least get rid of his nose ring.

It’s not that Helen is concerned about Jeremy’s sexual orientation (after all, her other son is gay as well). It’s merely the matter of the overdose (“Just like Liza!” Jeremy had told her), the green hair, and what looks like a safety pin stuck through his face. After therapy, unconditional love, and tough love . . . why not try Israel?

Yet in seductive and dangerous surroundings, with the rumbling of violence and change in the air, in a part of the world where “there are no modern times,” mother and son become new, old, and surprising versions of themselves.

What Others Have To Say
The New York Times
"The novel is consistently amusing, particularly when Hamburger offers barbed observations about the banalities of tourist culture."

"This novel is highly recommended for anyone who is drawn to stories of family affected by the global political context of everyday life."

Frontiers Magazine
The author's shrewd and satirical look at Judaism, and American and Israeli style, is in the great tradition of Philip Roth, and makes for an absorbing read."

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