Sunday, January 08, 2012

The Temple Mount Gets Blown Up or, A Novel Approach to the Revenants of Yesha

I guess the Temple Mount gets blown up - again:


Well, I have noted that over the past decade there have been a dozen novels that have a Temple Mount theme; Chabon's novel that has the Mount being blown up; and a second Chabon novel that mentions the Temple Mount.

So, here is from an interview with Joan Leegent, author of the new novel:

Wherever You Go is an engrossing novel...The writing style is contemporary. The storytelling is solid. And the prose moves along so gently that you’ll forget you’re even reading a book...Wherever You Go follows the emotional journeys of three protagonists. (More about them in a moment). Their journeys, all quests for redemption in one form or another, take them to Israel. And Joan Leegant’s descriptions of that place had me longing to catch the next flight to Tel Aviv! Through her characters we’re able experience different facets of this amazing and troubled country – West Bank settlements; the Jewish radicalism/extremism at the fringe of Israeli society; the complicated relationship between Jewish Americans & Israelis; the religious and the secular citizens of Jerusalem, desirous of peace. It’s an engrossing portrait of a country as described by the people who live & visit there. And when I had the opportunity to ask Joan Leegant a few questions: Israel was at the top of my list.

tolmsted: All three main characters find a home & solace in Israel, regardless of their level of commitment to religion and not always with good results...Can you talk about the role of Israel in the book and in your character’s lives? Part of me wants to ask what Israel represents (maybe I am asking that), but the idea and actuality of the country of Israel is so loaded with meaning and expectations it’s hard to imagine it representing anything other than itself.

Joan Leegant: You’re correct that Israel itself is almost a character in the book; the  story could not have taken place anywhere else. One major element of the novel  is religious extremism, in particular Jewish religious extremism. This is a huge issue in Israel today, commanding headlines in fact this week due to some incidents involving religious extremists. Israel is also central to each of the three main characters’ lives and quests, though they are all Americans who find themselves in Jerusalem for different  reasons. Yona Stern has come to make amends with her sister who is a radical West Bank settler fiercely committed to the settler movement. So Yona’s experience of Israel in the novel is given largely through the lens of the settlement issue. Mark Greenglass is a more overtly devout man who, when the book opens, is enduring a crisis of religious faith. For him, Israel is the place that enabled him to embrace that faith most fully in the first place...For Aaron Blinder, a year-abroad drop-out who struggles in school
and is a failure in his father’s eyes, Israel is the place where he plays out his
need for approval and acceptance, for a sense of self-worth and belonging. He does this by aligning himself with violent radical settlers, to tragic ends.

And here are two of the three protaganists, as described by a reviewer:

For Yona Stern, she struggles with rebuilding the relationship with her sister Dena for the last 12 years while rebuilding the issue of trust that has dissolved between them. Yona cheated on her sister with her boyfriend at the time, who confessed he didn't really love Dena for the last year and instead has fallen for her. Riddled with guilt, he ultimately confesses to Dena and ends the relationship thinking that they will now fall in love. The only problem is that Yona doesn't love him and never did.

Now she finds herself trying to finally reconcile the gap that has come between them in her section of the book and it seems that Dena only wishes to punish her sister through her actions while she allows her to visit by barely speaking to her, and for the most part staying so busy they don't have time to be alone.

...Aaron Builder is a unique individual who is trying to make sure that the Jewish people are not forced out of Israel by their Arab neighbors. He will join whatever cause is necessary to make sure that the rising hostilities against Israel will not eliminate the country he has come to love.

Is there a film in the making?

Here's the official site's excerpt and you'' notice on page 9 that the precautioary blast to check if a suspect object is a bomb is mistakeningly described as "an earsplitting explosion"and "a thunderous boom". Obviously, she has never heard one. Tsk-tsk.

And the "settlement" is...Kiryat Arba. A typical Jewish community.

Creative license, I presume.


1 comment:

Juniper in the Desert said...

"Through her characters we’re able experience different facets of this amazing and troubled country"

The only "troubled" and trouble comes from Obama the islamo-commie dictator in waiting, his regime of neo-nazis, izlamic imperialists wishing to steal Israel for themselves and their stupid useful Western idiots!!