My reviewrating: 4 of 5 stars
I read this book as part of my book club at the synagogue. It is a story of a widow from New York who upon the death of her husband decided to return to the small Orthodox community in which he was raised — Memphis. To make the story even more complex, she is a convert.
The story is very much a fish out of water story mixed with social commentary. Batsheva, the outsider, is a free spirit, who doesn't exactly follow the rules to the letter of the law. She interprets them in her own way and finds inner meaning in whatever way she can. The women of the community are taken aback by many of her practices. (For example, she continues to use the mikveh even though as a widow the practice is irrelevant.)
My favorite part of the book was not in particular passage or story, but the way it was told. The author used a rare collective first person narrative — the women of the community. This mechanism gave the book an organic feel. You felt like you were watching Batsheva from behind the curtains as well.
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