Schocken Books Inc, Hardcover, 9780805212556, 322pp.
Publication Date: February 26, 2013
From the author of Not Me, this powerful novel about an Israeli father and his daughter brings to life a rich canvas of events and unexpected change in the aftermath of a suicide bombing.
In the galvanizing opening of The Wanting, the celebrated Russian-born postmodern architect Roman Guttman is injured in a bus bombing, causing his life to swerve into instability and his perceptions to become heightened and disturbed as he embarks on an ill-advised journey into Palestinian territory. The account of Roman’s desert odyssey alternates with the vivacious, bittersweet diary of his thirteen-year-old daughter, Anyusha (who is on her own perilous path, of which Roman is ignorant), and the startlingly alive witnessings of Amir, the young Palestinian who pushed the button and is now damned to observe the havoc he has wrought from a shaky beyond.
Enriched by flashbacks to the alluringly sad tale of Anyusha’s mother, a famous Russian refusenik who died for her beliefs, The Wanting is a poignant study of the costs of extremism, but it is most satisfying as a story of characters enmeshed in their imperfect love for one another and for the heartbreakingly complex world in which that love is wrought.
“In this exquisite novel of longing and loss, Lavigne has woven multiple stories of intersecting lives and conflicting desires. From the snowy streets of communist Moscow to the scorching heat of a Palestinian-controlled desert, we travel with characters at once ruined and resilient, some idealistic, others world-weary—all pursuing that most essential but elusive want: a place to call home. A beautiful meditation on love, and on all the ways in which stories are remembered and told.”
—Dalia Sofer, author of The Septembers of Shiraz
“Lavigne writes like an angel. And like a devil. Indeed, he writes so well that it isn’t always possible to tell which is which. His ability to give wild imaginings a concrete immediacy, a human warmth and plausibility, is the rarest of writerly gifts.”
—Jonathan Rosen, author of Joy Comes in the Morning and The Talmud and the Internet
“Lavigne’s heartfelt examination offers what reportage never could: an intensely intimate and human depiction of the forces that unite and powerfully divide this region and its people.”