It is sometime in the near future, and the Israeli Army is about to descend upon a band of militant settlers who have proclaimed the secessionist Kingdom of Judea and Samaria. So begins this timely and brilliantly satiric novel—an all-too-real story of a modern-day Masada.
The Jewish War is most particularly the story of Yehudi HaGoel (formerly Jerry Goldberg of the Bronx), the fiery and charismatic king of an extreme Zionist sect. His divine mission: to hasten the coming of the Messiah and bring about the redemption. As we follow him from his youth in New York City and the Catskills to his hilarious, illicit passage to Israel during the Six-Day War and through his campaign to claim the sacred city of Hebron (the burial place of the Jewish Patriarchs and Matriarchs), we enter into a complex and troubled world rife with ancient passions. It is a world peopled with irreconcilables: religious Zionists, ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionists, Christian fundamentalists, Arab nationalists, secular Israelis, American supporters, and implacable military officers. Among these last is General Uri Lapidot, whose career is uncannily linked to HaGoel’s and who is charged with the grim and unwanted task of leading the Israeli army against the secessionist kingdom in the final showdown.
By turns comic and tragic, The Jewish War is a stunning account of the struggle between political realities and historical vision, between the hope for peace and a fierce commitment to sacred, eternal truth. Written with deep authority and intense power, it brings to life haunting and universally resonant characters whose deepest yearnings are those that pursue us all.
From the Hardcover edition.
About Tova Reich
Tova Reich is the author of the novels Mara and Master of the Return, which won the Edgar Lewis Wallant Award for fiction. Her stories and reviews have appeared in, among other publications, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, and The New… More about Tova Reich
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Published by Pantheon Oct 24, 2012| 288 Pages| ISBN 9780307827739
“A very engaging novel. [Tova Reich] has found here a subject worthy of her talent . . . We turn the pages, we lave one narration and discover the next one, we are taken by the rhythm of the language and by the imagination of the storyteller . . . Tova Reich has given us a gift smiling: How can we not thank her for it.” —Elie Wiesel, The New Leader
“A novel in the form of an ambush—a wildy funny story that becomes mysteriously touching and ponderable before the end. . . I urge you not to miss it.” —Benjamin DeMott, The Atlantic Monthly
“Ms. Reich’s book lives. Her characters love, marry, give birth, get stoned, commit bigamy. In the end, [her] comic vision gives the last word to life . . . A rapturous celebration.” —Hugh Nissenson, The New York Times Book Review
“Undeniably funny . . . Reich has the writer’s sure touch, eye, ear, sensibility; her book sings.” —Anne Bernays, The Washington Post
“Reich’s voice is a striking one: she has a gift for outrageous, hard-edged comedy that Evelyn Waugh might have appreciated.” —James N. Baker, Newsweek
“It is evident from the very first page that an extraordinary energy is at work.” —Harper’s Magazine