Years after uprooting herself and moving to Israel, a woman ponders the possibilities of a future back in the United States in Igra’s (co-author: J. D. Kirszenbaum, 2014) novel.
Shortly after marrying an Israeli man named Guy, Victoria, an American, decides to leave her life in the United States to start a new one with him, in his native country. As the years pass by and their family grows, Victoria adjusts to life in a place that she initially knows little about. But when her eldest son, Ben, enlists in the combat sector of the Israeli military, she worries that her children will live far different, and more dangerous, lives than those she envisioned for them. When one of Ben’s comrades is wounded by a sniper during his military service, it strikes too close to home for comfort. Then one of her own friends says that she will be moving back to America, which awakens a desire within Victoria to follow suit. She discovers that she’s being considered for a job at the Columbia School of Journalism, which could provide a reason—and the means—for a permanent relocation. But such a move threatens to tear her relationship with Guy apart. Igra explores the choices that people make for the sake of presumed happiness, and the cost of prioritizing another person’s fulfillment over one’s own. The author’s modest yet stirring dialogue, which cuts to the bone of the struggles these women face daily, is especially impressive. That said, the repetitive first act could have been trimmed to more clearly focus on the underlying themes of Victoria’s story, which might have made readers feel more invested in her journey later on. Throughout, characters struggle with feelings of displacement and expulsion as they reckon with past decisions—some of which they’ve regretted, but not all.
Captivating and insightful, if a little long-winded.