Finding oneself–or not–in the land of Israel

The Book of Love and Hate by Lauren Sanders; Akashic Books ©2017; 300 pages; ISBN 9781617-755828.

By Donald H. Harrison

Donald H. Harrison

SAN DIEGO – Jennifer is the daughter of a fugitive billionaire, American businessman who is somewhere on the lam in Israel—or is he already dead?  Jennifer’s mother abandoned the family years ago, and her brother, Michael, had an accident in his car, most likely a suicide.  But Jen isn’t without anyone.  She has taken her father’s mistress as her own lover.  Or is the mistress really manipulating her?

Once, Jen had been an Olympic skater, considered one of the fastest in the world. But she slammed into a wall during a race, knocking herself out of commission.  Months of physical therapy was unable to return her to sports; her life subsequently became dissolute.  Drugs and alcohol left her in a haze; hallucinations were a constant companion.  Even though money was no object for this heiress, she had to be careful in Israel to conceal her identity—especially if she was ever to find her father.

In this novel, readers careen through Jen’s life. Past and present are as jumbled as her mind on drugs, as she experiences sexual escapades, dreamscapes; ghosts, or perhaps these are living apparitions; spies trailing her; bouts of drinking; and Tel Aviv’s LGBT scene. While the action takes place in Israel, this is not specifically a Jewish or Israeli book.  Rather the Jewish state provides an interesting backdrop for a drama that is fundamentally internal.  Wherever she takes us, author Sanders narrates very well.

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Harrison is editor of San Diego Jewish World.  He may be contacted via donald.harrison@sdjewishworld.com

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